Since they hatched in late May, we have been privy to every moment in the life of the three Manton Bay Osprey chicks. We have seen them grow from tiny brown balls of down, into fully-grown, beautiful juvenile Ospreys. We’ve witnessed them maturing, and learning about the world around them. We saw the day they walked on their huge feet for the first time, the day they ate a fish by themselves for the first time, and the day they were adorned with their leg rings. More recently, we have seen them learning how to use their wings, flapping them madly and helicoptering above the nest.
Well, today saw another milestone in the lives of these chicks, and one in particular, as today S1 flew for the first time! We have watched as she has grown in confidence, and several times over the past few days we’ve thought she would fledge. Today, she did! It all happened very fast, and due to the delay on the camera recording system, I missed the moment she actually fledged. However, we did manage to record some of her later flights, as she completed several more after the first one!
In this video, you can see S1 flying around behind the nest with Maya, then she returns to the nest, and lands rather awkwardly!
She lands much better in this one!
S1 gained in confidence and became more adventurous throughout the day, undertaking more flights and for longer periods of time. She managed to perfect landing somewhat, and landed next to Maya on the French perch a couple of times, and also spent quite a bit of time sitting next to 33 on the T-perch.
Now, I keep referring to S1 as a female, however we are not entirely sure that this is correct. When ringing and sexing the chicks, we knew for certain that there was one female – S3, and one male – S2, due to clear signs in their size, bulk and weight. S1 was a different story, as she was borderline. Initially we leaned on the side of female, but we’ve changed our minds a few times, and we’re still not 100% certain. When she sat next to 33 on the T-perch, she looked the same size as him. However, when she sat by Maya she also looked similar in size to her. Therefore, until we know for sure I am going to continue to refer to S1 as a she, as I’m used to it now!
S2 has also done some helicoptering today, and we got very excited as we thought perhaps he would fledge today too! However, he hasn’t as yet.
S3 also did a bit of wing exercising, although she is a little further off fledging than S2 is. She hasn’t done quite so much helicoptering, and has looked less confident than her siblings. It may take her a few days longer, but she will get there in her own time.
There is going to be a lot of action in the bay over the next few days, whilst S1 gets used to being able to fly! It won’t be long now until S2 joins her!