Monday, May 22, 2006

Into the Abyss

Time and circumstance have not allowed me to pay attention to a certain pressing matter. I did, however, discover one way to distinguish osprey from ospring from a great distance.

When osprey decide it is time to take wing they simply take a little hop into the air, beat their wings a time or three, and off they go. When ospring decide to leave the nest they point their beak earthward and dive... hurtling downwardfor a few moments and finally swoop out of the dive, make a beat or two of their wings, and fly off.

I wonder how long it takes them to learn those wonderful circling maneuvers?


buddy larsen said...

Nice post--reminded of the awed fascination of watching slow-motion film of predator birds maneuvering--how a hawk or an owl can aerobat the last few feet of drop--at high speed and with a ground collision an instant away--to adjust to a darting direction-changing prey and get a talon on it and then beat that lifting zoom back up into the air. Makes ya wonder.

Syl said...

Excellent observation.

I suppose they eventually learn the right maneuvers by observing their parents and possibly their parents do train them. That is if they are anything like crows.

A few years ago I stopped at a gas station. The guy filling my tank seemed distracted and wasn't watching what he was doing. He showed me what it was that he was interested in.

For the last few hours there was a family of crows with the parents teaching the two young ones how to land on the tip of a pole. One parent on the pole, other and two young ones on a billboard.

Caws from the pole. One young one would fly to the pole in an attempt to unseat the parent. If his angle wasn't quite right, he'd flutter and fly back to the billboard. Caws again and another attempt. Angle right, feet perfectly placed at height of pole tip, parent crow flys to billboard and young one now on pole.

Other parent flys to pole, unseats young one who flies back to billboard.

Other young one attempts flight to pole.

Rinse. Repeat.

I stood there and watched with the attendant for quite a bit until another customer came along and I got back in the car and drove off.

Ed onWestSlope said...

They learn to fly with less mishaps and more grace than when I learned to walk, if my Mother is to be believed.

And then when I remember learning to ride a bike ....

The Lord's creation is astounding.

buddy larsen said...

I've got a little house spider on my desk. It has built itself a webby contraption of some sort under the overhang of a bigger book atop a smaller. I've been watching the little guy for a week now. So yes, some of us ARE easily entertained!

buddy larsen said...

Ha--figures--being albatosses and all--

Rick Ballard said...

Thanks for the update Knuck. It's good to know that Ospring I has achieved, if not lift off, at least dive down and return. Now it's just a matter of him/her getting to the gym every day and developing those pecs until all the flapping achieves its intended effect.

One of the funnier (at least to me) nature moments that I have witnessed was a young bald eagle who grabbed a baby salmon (maybe 1 - 1 1/2 lbs.) quite nicely and then couldn't gain altitude to get to its favorite tree perch. It wouldn't let go and it's beach landing wasn't exactly a feat of aerial art. In fact, it did a Three Stooges face plant and squawked about it quite noisily for a bit afterwards.

It did eat the fish though, which was the point of the exercise.