Today is 78 days from hatching on June 28, 121 days since she laid eggs and start to sit them, and 134 days since Jeff’s video showing the pair courting on May 2: that’s 4 ½ months. This may be the last report for the year. The adults have not been seen for days: my last sighting was the male bringing a fish to the family (see last report). We assume the adults have both left and gone their separate ways to Central and South America, but the three chicks were last seen together on Sep 10. We believe they have or will migrate separately south, thousands of miles.
The first 3 pictures above were taken on Sep 10 (Saturday) and the last two on Sep 12 (Monday):
· 1487 shows two well-developed chicks still on the nest.
· 1589 shows a chick swooping down from a great height (at first a spot in the sky) with a fish in its talons.
· 1601 shows the same chick landing on the nest. The other chicks thought this was someone bringing food for them, so the chick with the fish moved on. It flew up and down the river near the nest site until finally finding a bare branch over the river on which to eat its catch.
· 1716 shows the first chick (first hatched) at its established eating branch, clearly in proud possession of this large fish.
· 1719 shows the same bird about to bite the head off its fish. The head can be detached because the gills of the fish occupy the lower half; it is a certain way to kill the fish, and it opens up the body to eat. This chick was observed having trouble swallowing a whole head on several occasions: the bigger the fish, the bigger the head.
· 1734 shows the same bird retching as it tries to swallow the fish head: it took perhaps half a minute before it succeeded.
So the 2016 parents brought up three healthy chicks, a testament to their courage fighting off eagles, to their organization: him specializing in catching fish and guarding against predators, she specializing in feeding and protecting the chicks. It’s also a testament to the Colorado Dept of Parks & Wildlife which keeps the river and the ponds within range (12 miles) stocked with fish that the anglers have not caught. We may never know whether the last chick has learned to fish for itself and has or will migrate.
We are considering installing a bird cam next spring before the Osprey return. Each summer one or two gardens are re-designed and replanted, as well as making improvements to the infrastructure. These projects are paid for by grants and capital development funds supported by members. However, the Park's operating budget comes from individual donations for memberships and garden sponsorships.To donate to the park send a check to YRBP, PO Box 776269, Steamboat Springs, CO , 80477; or online with Visa or MC by: CLICKING HERE