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An important stepping stone in the life of the osprey chicks happened this last week. The first osprey chick fledged. I knew that the chicks were preparing to fly. I had watched them practice. They flapped their wings in the nest, even gliding around. However, it came as a surprise when the oldest chick, the aptly named Sky, flew out of the nest. It happened very fast, very suddenly. I thought I was just watching more flapping, and then all of a sudden she lifted up and away she went.

The other chicks were very interested. They came up to the edge of the nest and looked out for the longest time. Watching her or searching for her, the chicks kept an eye on the skies while she was gone. They were looking out at their own future, possibly envying Sky’s triumph. Maybe they were trying to learn from her, or to see how she did it.

It didn’t take Rachel very long to decide to follow Sky. She took off as well and went after her new fledgling. I imagine she found Sky and was helping her learn how to fly better. For the first time, there were only two chicks in the nest. They kept their attention mostly on the edge of the nest. They looked around at the horizon. Rachel came back before Sky did. She kept her focus mainly on the skies as well. It’s difficult to not imagine that what they felt was some sort of pride.

Intern Kevin, on watching Sky fledge for the first tim