Thursday, June 3, 2010

Osprey Chicks Pop Up For a Peek

Ron Smith, a crew member aboard the Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer, snapped these pictures of this year's baby ospreys. The nest is seen by Explorer passengers twice on every cruise. According to naturalist John Dever, two other osprey nests are seen farther downstream on the longer, three-hour sunset special cruises. Whether viewed with binoculars or a nice telephoto lens, these birds are truly awesome to see. Their size and markings make them remarkable sightings when perched on a limb or tending to their young in the nest. But if you see them in flight, or are lucky enough to watch them snatch a fish out of the water, you'll be even more impressed. The chicks are just big enough now to pop their heads up for a peek above the top of the nest, but they'll grow quickly in the next six to eight weeks. Frequently you'll either hear them calling to their parents or the parents calling to each other. One adult is usually on the nest while the other is usually perched in a tree nearby. (Click on the image to see it full-sized.)

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