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Thread subject: How weak is SHE.
Name Date Message
Marie 06/13/05 05:40 pm I have been thinking....... ;-))

I wonder if any studies have been conducted on how much weaker the female osprey becomes during her enforced time at the nest . We all know that ''if you don't use it you lose it', well like all big muscles in the body does Bettys' muscle mass deteriorate due to the fact she isn't flying very much.. Working of the muscles keeps them in good shape, especially the big muscles. Considering the number of months, days and hours she has dedicated at the nest site and lack of real excercise , I wonder if this is why she goes missing for longer periods of time now in order to get the muscle mass back again. She really doesn't get anywhere near the usual excercise that her breast/flight muscles might require to stay in top shape. So the question is, does she lose strength and precision in all aspects of fishing and flying during the breeding season? Is this why we see her leave for longer periods in the morning now. Also in order to miss the real bad weather in fall could this be why she leaves on her fall migration earlier than the rest of her family? If indeed she isn't up to par when it is time to go, does her early departure ensure a less stressful or arduous journey, based on depleted muscle mass.
I guess WEIGHT is the answer and I don't suppose it is easy to weight a full grown female osprey at any time.
Tiger 06/13/05 06:02 pm I have been thinking about the fishing aspect before. I mean that if Betty has not caught a fish in five months then she might be a bit rusty.
Marie 06/13/05 06:08 pm When all is said and done, I think the female is a real smart cookie...........fishing in the calmer waters of the late summer and early fall should ensure that she gets everything she needs on her southward migration even if her fishing skills are a little rusty. I suspect that'' Evolution'' has directed this escape for the females to ensure there are enough females that survive for the next generation.
Pam 06/13/05 07:00 pm When I was watching earlier Betty flew in, then out, then in again carrying a fish in her left foot as if she had caught it herself. Of course, she may have just retrieved it from a nearby pantry stocked by Dennis.
Cecilia 06/13/05 08:00 pm We know that she brought in a fish a couple of mornings ago that we all thought she had caught...so she may have caught the one you saw too.

I happened to look in Poole's book today to see the timing of fledging (40 to 55 days) so Betty really isn't that far away from being able to get back into action and shape. Once the chicks fledge all of them will be coming and going from the nest at all hours of the day...so Betty will have half of July, all of August and some of September to get back up to normal condition. And this year, given the amount of fish in the nest, she shouldn't have to try to gain back a lot of weight...she may not have lost it. LOL Of course all this is assuming that the situation doesn't change dramatically...which, given the predictions of possible hurricanes this summer, is not a safe bet :-( But she looks good, she looks clean and she certainly looks well fed so I think she'll do just fine!
DaveS 06/13/05 08:06 pm Don't forget that the female is the first to leave on migration. Perhaps she uses the extra weeks to build herself back up prior to taking the long road south. Also, as the chicks get bigger and closer to fledging, the female has more time to fish and exercise. She certainly does a yeoman̢۪s job with the little ones!

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006