Look, Ma … No Hands!

Patient mother watches as fledgling tests its wings

What an exciting moment! After visiting the nest for over six weeks, the anticipation has been growing. Would today be the day that the oldest of two fledglings earned its wings?

We have posted photos and videos of the older fledgling testing its flaps while perched on the nest so you can imagine our excitement when, this morning, we captured these images of the youngster literally flapping above the nest.

There was a very strong breeze which I thought might carry the fledgling away on a powerful updraft, but the bird is so strong that it was able to hover like a, well, Boeing V-22 Osprey!

What a totally amazing thing to see. I predicted that the older fledgling would actually take flight this week. I hope I’m there to chronicle the moment.

Once it has learned to fly, the youngster will follow its father over to the creek, or bay to learn how to fish. The younger fledgling is not yet stretching its wings, but appears to be doing well.

So far, I have edited about 16-minutes of video which will be posted to my YouTube channel after the fledglings begin to fly.

Typically, the family will fly to Mexico where the youngsters will stay for up to three years before coming back to this area to mate. The parents will return next year to the same nest to begin another family.

Images captured by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. The soft wingtips in the last image was achieved by turning off Motion Blur which simulates the flapping motion.

Airborne above the nest
Wheels down, trying to land

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