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Thread subject: Sexing The Chicks.
Name Date Message
Tiger 07/03/04 05:12 pm I have been looking at the chicks and wondering what sex each is.

I think it is Cz which has the brownish breast which suggests that it is female.

Spirit on the other hand seems to have a white breast suggesting it is male.

I am not sure about Peace.

Shelley 07/03/04 05:20 pm Tiger, you may have missed this discussion. It was, um...rather *lively*, as some of our recent discussions have been known to be, heehee. It wasn't too long ago in fact, but I couldn't even hazard a guess as to what page it might be found on.

Bottom line is that because these osprey are not and won't be banded, we will never really know for sure but many folks here have put forth their theories and reasons for them. Rather entertaining, I might add. Oh, it may have been when we were trying to decide on names for the chicks....

Your theories are as good as any, btw ;-)
Dave S 07/03/04 07:47 pm My obs have me thinking the slightly smaller bird has less (almost none) brown spotting on it's breast, therefore it is probably a male. The other two have much more spotting and seem larger. Those two also seem more vocal than the "white breasted one", and I think being vocal is more a female trait, so, who is who? You all seem to be more in tune than I am, which is what the site is all about, so tell me if I am close!
Tiger 07/03/04 08:25 pm Oh Dave this is a game you can play at leisure because there is no chance of ever being proved wrong.

I like your theories though! :)

Celeste 07/03/04 08:30 pm Dave my instincts tell me the same as you feel. The two older chicks are female, and the third I do feel is a male. Also, particularly chick 1, seems to have a "strong" nesting instinct in that it is always moving nesting material besided the loud vocalizations.
Marie 07/03/04 08:41 pm As I was driving around to see the osprey nests here in Victoria the thought came to me this very afternoon that perhaps we needed to re-think SPIRIT's gender. I too had noticed how small he is dispite all the food I am sure he is getting. He just has a smaller build, which from what I have read usually indicates a MALE. I am glad you brought the topic up Tiger and DAVE you have come to a clear decision too. So I guess I will accept two male opinions and all those females that thought the same way! Still two females and one male in the nest... :-))
Mickey 07/03/04 08:43 pm Wimmen are always more chatty *wink*
Marei 07/03/04 08:48 pm TRUE....Mickey, BUT it was SPIRIT who was soooooooo chatty for the longest time, so that was why we all agreed that perhaps Spirit was female.Now we need to re-think, so we have a chatty Male bird in SPIRIT.
Tiger 07/03/04 08:50 pm Yes Marie I feel that the last discussion of this was very unscientific. I certainly feel that there are two females and one male.

I have been looking for further evidence by studying pictures of the Rutland Water ospreys when they were chicks.

I have not been able to prove anything conclusively but there seems some truth in the idea that makings differ between male and female.

Maybe after a few years of watching this sort of camera we will be be able to do it no problem.

Mind you it would help if we were allowed to take out the old DNA kit :)

Mickey 07/03/04 08:54 pm seriously.....at this point in time,I think we can only guess what sex is what chick.It sure is fun guessing though. As long as all 3 fledge I dont care if they wear fruit hats :)
Marie 07/03/04 09:03 pm Looks like the REAL Scientist is surfacing in YOU Tiger, tonight. Science is great but we need the other stuff too. ;-))
Tiger 07/03/04 09:04 pm Oh definitely a bit of fun Mickey but it is a problem that it would be good to have a solution to.

The translocation experiment at Rutland Water seems to have ended up with SEVEN males and ONE female which is a bit of a disaster in some respects.

In years to come it will be interesting to see if these males manage to attract passing female ospreys.

Marie 07/03/04 09:21 pm On my scouting today of the three Osprey nests I was dismayed to see one nest completely abandoned???( At least I think so) The wind was blowing real hard dispite the beautiful sunny day. I was able to get to an area that was on the same level as the nest but couldn't see any female or chicks even with a spotting scope. One adult flew over the nest but there were no calls from the nest so if the female was hunkered down she would have responded I am sure.This was my favorite nest and location ;-(( Last Sat. all was well when I was there. Two little heads and a male and female Osprey. What could have happened.??? The ground beneath the nest didn't indicate anything. This nest is in a large playing field and very high up on a cement pole that houses the flood lights. The other two nest sights have two chicks in each and appear to be doing well.
Shelley 07/03/04 11:28 pm Marie, two thoughts come to mind. Could they have fledged when you weren't looking and maybe they just were all out of the nest when you happened to be there today? Or perhaps, is there anyone who manages the ball field -- someone must activate and operate the floodlights -- that you could try to contact, to see if they know anything? Could there have been a mishap, perhaps a ball hit the nest, something they might know and be able to tell you? This is worrisome!
Marie 07/04/04 12:52 am Thanks for your comforting words Shelley... I would estimate that the little chicks were less than a month old. Wouldn't have fledged yet... I think they need to be ten weeks old or so. I will return tomorrow after work and see if there is any activity at the nest and try to seek some answers. Hopefully the news is better. This is the nest site that I sent you the picture of.
Tiger 07/04/04 05:39 am That does sound worrisome Marie. Here in Britain Ospreys do not have any predators other than humans. However in Norway I believe that Eagle Owls do attack their nests.

If a pair loses eggs or young they build frustration eyries. Perhaps you should look out to see if there is any evidence of that.

Marie 07/04/04 09:14 am Good thought Tiger I will look around. The only other preditor are Bald Eagles here, and there are certainly those around in that area. I am not sure if a Great horned Owl would bother the birds but it is a large owl and they are around too in that area too.
Shelley 07/04/04 10:50 am Does anyone know if ospreys would have a second clutch if the first failed? I remember last year at the Kent, Washington eagle nest, they eagles lost their babies. The first egg hatched but the chick only lived a day or so and the second egg never hatched. There was a lot of speculation as to whether they might have another go at it. It never happened but I believe it was said that it could and had been known to be possible. (Happily, this year, both eggs laid there hatched and the eaglets have thrived despite some harrowing experiences, as you recall, when that huge branch fell across the nest in a storm and more recently, the successful removal of the fishing wire from the leg of one of the eaglets. They are also very close to fledging now)

If that nest of yours, Marie, is still intact, I just wondered if the adults might try again?

I look forward to your report, and hope you are able to find out something!
Mickey 07/04/04 11:00 am Marie......The Great Horned Owl is indeed a preditor to the Osprey nest.Last year Dave or Rick and maybe even a commentator said that this Owl has been known to lift chicks right from the nest. So if you have these birds in your area this is plausable. I firmly believe that this is why Betty doesnt rest after dark.These Owls are excellent night hunters and Im sure Osprey fear them. Seeing as this nest is smack dab in the middle of a refuge and lots of barns around the outskirts in sure there are Owls all over the place.
Tiger 07/04/04 11:06 am Almost all the reports I have seen suggest that the birds build a frustration eyrie but it is not a serious attempt to have a second clutch.

However there are reports from long ago that repeat clutches were laid.

It possibly is heavily dependent on when the first clutch was lost.

Celeste 07/04/04 10:15 pm According to Poole's book a second clutch can be achieved if it is soon after the first clutch failed for whatever reason. However, it has to be timely so that migration occurs on time.
Marie 07/05/04 12:45 am Well it isn't looking good for those ospreys in the ball park in Victoria. I went to check it out again today. No sign of the mother or her chicks. I found two feathers beneath the nest pole today. Osprey feathers. Two little wing feathers. While I was there I spoke to the man in the pro-shop for there is a small golf course, 9 hole at the same site. He said he saw three adult ospreys flying around the area at 6am. I saw??? the same three at 1pm. They were flying high over the field when one osprey took off. There was lots of calling going on. No osprey went to the nest. Also as I left to go over to the lagoon which is where the ospreys would fish, I saw a pair of Bald Eagles sitting side by side. A bonded pair that weren't nesting this year. Eagles do take a year off from breeding it seems. Were they a reason for the osprey nest failure I wonder? Even a pair of Ravens flew over the lagoon. This lagoon is in close proximity to the osprey nest site. Another interesting thing that occured while I was at the lagoon...in flew three ospreys. They circled and then settled on the highest SNAG( real high) that was among a thick wood of firs that edged the lagoon. I found this interesting...to be so high and all together on the same snag but at differnt levels(dead branches)These ospreys looked like adults.All the nests that I have watched over the past two weeks have had chicks in them that can only be one month old. It is way too early for young here to have fledged for our ospreys don't return until the third week of April. So...it appears that one of my nests has failed for what ever reason. Sad to say, life as a BIRD isn't easy. I always thought that all birds got on together, until I started to study them!!!
Tiger 07/05/04 06:23 am The life of most young birds is horribly uncertain. To celebrate a first birhday is some achievement!

It does seem as if something did happen to these chicks.

Copyright © 2004 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Fri Dec 31 23:49:43 EST 2004