Ospreys: Raising a Family
They arrive around St. Patrick’s Day, depart around Labor day, and in between they’ll raise a family. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Some years back, Pulse of the Planet listener Ted Smith put up a nesting platform over some open water, near his home in Mattox Creek, Virginia. He was hoping to attract a pair of osprey. Well, a mated pair of osprey came in the Spring, built their nest, and they’ve been coming back every year for a six month stay.
Smith: “Our two osprey, back for their thirteenth season, are very happy in their new home. And they built a very sizable nest, and the female is busy sitting on the eggs that were laid last month, and they’ll hatch, oooh, sometime in the next three weeks, maybe. And then we’ll start looking for little, yellow, fuzzy heads. Then within a week or so, they’re no longer fuzzy and yellow anymore, they’re getting brown And then they start to grow, and the parents feed them fish every hour or so, and they grow, and they grow. Before you know it, in July, they’re as big as their parents, which is pretty formidable. And their parents have a wingspan of around 4 feet. Then after they’ve learned to fly, they don’t need the nest anymore, but they tend to hang out there anyhow. And about the end of August, the parents say, ‘well, junior, we’ll see you. We’re going to go back down to South America for the winter.’ And the two parents fly off and they live down there, and then they come back next year around St. Patrick’s Day, and try to find their same nest, if the pole and the nest is available. So that’s the cycle we go through every year. They’re here for about six months and gone for about six months. And normally we figure the time table is, it’s so accurate, that you can practically predict when they’re going to show up.”
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.