Catfish inbound ... again

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Sep 9, 2007
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542
Location
Central Florida
Female Osprey heading to her nest with a catfish. Her partner originally brought the catfish to the nest, a tussle over the fish ensued. The female won possession of the fish and flew away to eat at a nearby pine tree (probably tired at looking at junior all day and night)
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. She promptly dropped the fish and it went splat on the pavement. She flew back to the nest and then the male flew back to the lake. She eventually flew down to retrieve the dropped fish and came back to the nest. She feeds herself first, the chick has to wait.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
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Good shot, but slightly unusual behavior. I've seen lots of dropped fish (parts of fish) and never have I seen one retrieved. If it hits the ground, they don't want it and will go get another one.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2007
Messages
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Location
Central Florida
Good shot, but slightly unusual behavior. I've seen lots of dropped fish (parts of fish) and never have I seen one retrieved. If it hits the ground, they don't want it and will go get another one.
There is one chick left of the three that started. The one left killed the other two by pecking at their head until they were dead and slumped over the side of the nest. I suspect a shortage of food is the cause. When she came back after dropping it the male was like “I did my job and I’m heading back to the lake.” I agree on that it was very dangerous for her to be on the ground but I think hunger won over. The male is much healthier looking (I got a family portrait shot the other day). I am by no means an expert, just my observations of this nest. Luckily you can view it at eye level and fairly close too. I don’t know if it is common for the oldest to kill the others, I was told this same thing happened last year. I appreciate your comments. -Jack
 
Joined
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There is one chick left of the three that started. The one left killed the other two by pecking at their head until they were dead and slumped over the side of the nest. I suspect a shortage of food is the cause. When she came back after dropping it the male was like “I did my job and I’m heading back to the lake.” I agree on that it was very dangerous for her to be on the ground but I think hunger won over. The male is much healthier looking (I got a family portrait shot the other day). I am by no means an expert, just my observations of this nest. Luckily you can view it at eye level and fairly close too. I don’t know if it is common for the oldest to kill the others, I was told this same thing happened last year. I appreciate your comments. -Jack
It's survival of the fittest and the oldest chick is usually the strongest. I guess if food is scarce, they will go for it, I've thought that once it hits the ground they consider it contaminated in some way and just leave it but if times are tough, they'll take a chance. The adults always feed themselves first, they are the ones who can reproduce next year. The chicks have a high mortality rate to begin with so they are expendable. They are also aware of genetic weakness and while it can seem cruel to some, in the end it keeps the species strong.
 
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Nicely captured image. I always through(from what I'd read) that osprey only eat stuff that they kill. But I was watching one fishing a few weeks ago and after several aborted dives it made a low angle pass over the water and picked up what looked to be a floating fish carcass. Flew away with what looked like the fish's skin trailing behind.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
4,451
Location
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Nicely captured image. I always through(from what I'd read) that osprey only eat stuff that they kill. But I was watching one fishing a few weeks ago and after several aborted dives it made a low angle pass over the water and picked up what looked to be a floating fish carcass. Flew away with what looked like the fish's skin trailing behind.
That certainly is their preference but in tough times, they do what they must to survive. Adult osprey do not usually do well in rehab for that reason, if they don't catch it live, they won't eat. Some seem to prefer death over eating something they didn't kill. The fledglings do better in this regard as they are still used to being fed by the parents. A local rehab center has an osprey that was injured and he just started eating on his own yesterday which bodes well for his recovery.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2007
Messages
542
Location
Central Florida
I always like shots of osprey carrying half-eaten fish!
Thanks! I do try to get them doing the stuff they do. The afternoon delivers have all been partially eaten by the male and then delivered to the nest. The morning delivers are fresh and untouched when he brings it to the nest (typically right at sunrise).
 

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