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Volume xviii, Issue 24 ~ June 17 to June 23, 2010

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The Osprey Saga

Week 14: Birth Order

The babies are being well fed and cared for. Their feeding schedule is based on the fishing schedule, which is based on the height of the sun. So it’s always early morning and late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are not reflected back from the surface, and enter at an angle instead, making it easier for an osprey to spot fish near the surface. Midday is always a rest period. Oliver delivers the fish, but only Olivia does the feeding.

The babies hatch on successive days, in the same order that the eggs were laid. Thus the first to hatch has a head start over the second, and they both have a head start over the third, which is always the runt of the litter because the smallest can’t fight for attention as well as the older siblings. The runt will end up the last to fly and the last to catch fish independently.

I have spotted only one little gray head poking up from the nest so far, no doubt, the first born and first to be fed.

I’ll have a better count soon.

Thus continues Michael Koblos’ 26-week saga of the doings of his nearest osprey family. A 78-year-old retired naval officer, Koblos lives in a small cottage on the water, Home Port, in a place called Cobb Island, located in the wide Potomac River about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C.

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