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Rachel & Steve with their new egg.

Osprey expert Dr. Rob Bierregaard answers your questions!

Renowned osprey expert Dr. Rob Bierregaard has been on hand to answer your pressing raptor-related questions. Catch up on his last Q&A too!

Q. Do you believe these birds learn from experience?
Yes, I believe Ospreys learn quickly from experience!

Q. In regards to the Osprey last season that ‘abused’ her chicks, do you have any thoughts on this behavior?
I’m as perplexed as everyone else on what was going on with the aggressive “Momzilla” Osprey down in Woods Hole last year. Check out This American Life‘s podcast. They did an interesting segment on it on NPR.

Q. Is it true that the male uses his “flight dance” to attract and impress the female, and not his bright coloration?
Yes, males use their sky dance to impress the females rather than their coloration, which is pretty drab. Besides the “necklace” there’s very little difference btn males and females. There are some subtle differences in underwing patterns that better birders than I can spot.

Q. In regards to the nightly GHO visitor, does this mean this particular owl will be a problem for this nest for the rest of the season or will it move on?
The Great-horned owl that visited the nest could indeed be a problem. At this time of year, owls are not moving, so this is a resident bird. Ospreys have little defense against Great-horned owls. Nothing to be done but hope for the best.

Q. You said osprey do not teach their chicks to fish. Is this true of other birds? It was stated that the female bald eagle took the chick and showed him how to get to the pond and bathe and they did stay together there for some time.
I don’t buy this. The young may have followed the adult somewhere, but that’s different from the female consciously intending to take a young somewhere to teach it something. Sure they stayed together—the young knows where food comes from (the adults) so they’re going to follow the adults.

Stay tuned for more Q&A from osprey expert Dr. Rob Bierregaard!

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