Osprey: Under Mum’s Wing

The sun was high in the sky that day, around 32˚ degrees Celsius in the shade and 35˚ or more under direct sunlight. I have been shooting the osprey for some time, when I’ve suddenly noticed the chick raising its head from the branches. It is during moments like this when you realize that your telephoto lens is not nearly long enough.

I could have tried approaching the nest again but my previous attempt ended up terribly, with the osprey female crying havoc.

The chick was probably 10-12 days old as it seemed, at least from that distance, covered with charcoal-colored down. Feathers replace the down at approximately 12-15 days. Without feathers, osprey chicks are not able to regulate their body temperature well. The osprey parents regularly cover the chick to provide shade from either rain or sun.

These frames show the female parent positioning and spreading the wings to provide the critical shade protection on a very hot afternoon.

With their beaks open to lower body temperature, the osprey female parent and chick maneuver in the nest.

Under mum’s shading, the chick cools off. Notice how the chick’s beak is now closed. See a larger crop of the chick cooling off below.

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