Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Once the chicks reach almost adult size, the parents will give them more space while still keeping an eye on them. They will take to perching on a limb that is within the line of sight of the nest. In the case of the nest I watch on the Patuxent River, they retire to a favorite limb on a nearby sycamore tree. The female has recently been in the water and is drying her wings while the male has his eye on the water below looking for a fish.
The male spots a fish and, with encouragement from the female, dives down to try and catch it.
This chick is not easily distinguished from an adult — at least, not by it's size. When they reach this size, the parents will allow them to sleep in the nestbox by themselves. I was able to take this photo of outstretched wings just as the sun was cresting the horizon.