Atlanta, GA

Ready for Takeoff: Juvenile Ospreys at Lake Allatoona Will Start Earning Their Wings Soon

DeanLand

Ready for takeoff: the young ospreys at Georgia's Lake Allatoona.

With more than a dozen man-made nesting platforms and other natural sites, it's not unusual to see ospreys soaring high above Lake Allatoona. The impressive large birds have a wingspan of over five feet. Due to their size and white heads, they often are confused with the larger bald eagle.

And now's the time of year when juvenile ospreys earn their wings, taking their first tentative flights from their huge nests. Based on mating and nesting patterns for North Georgia, young ospreys usually start their flying lessons from their nesting parents sometime in June.

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Based on age and size, juvenile ospreys at Lake Allatoona are nearly ready for flight.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

We've been monitoring closely one pair of nesting ospreys with a platform nest at Allatoona Battlefield Park. The young have hatched, and based on size, age and other characteristics, the juveniles should be flying soon.

On our latest visit in mid-June, we saw the silhouettes of what we believe are two juveniles ospreys occupying the nest with one adult. Later, we saw the second adult approach the nest, then turn away to continue hunting. Unfortunately, with our low sight angles, we were unable to definitely confirm the number of young in the nest, even using an 80x zoom. While we believe we identified the feather patterns of two young, we never saw more than two heads -- one adult and one juvenile -- above the nest line at any time.

According to information published by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, nesting ospreys typically produce two or three birds in each brood.

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Nesting ospreys generally produce two or three birds per season, according to information from Georgia Department of Natural Resources.Photo: Dean Land / Our Travel Cafe

Thanks to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia Power cooperative program to erect nesting platforms around the lake, nesting ospreys are able to return each year to safe nests for the spring mating and hatching season. Georgia Power provided 40-foot-tall poles for the nests, and the Corps and Georgia Power provided equipment and manpower to erect the nesting towers. More towers were added in 2013. Ospreys also have been spotted nesting in tall pine trees along the shores of the lake.

According to Army Corps of Engineers reports, the osprey population at Lake Allatoona has grown from one pair of nesting birds in 1995 to more than a dozen pairs in recent years. Considered an endangered species in the 1970s due to the environmental impacts of DDT, osprey have rebounded in recent decades. The species was removed from the endangered list in 1983, but is still protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Typical of spring activity, multiple osprey pairs are tending their nests.

For more on these nesting ospreys, see these posts from earlier in the mating season:

Prime Time for Soaring Ospreys

Ospreys Ready for Hatching on Earth Day

Earth Day Visit with Nesting Ospreys (video)

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I'm a trained journalist, global traveler and retired business executive who worked for more than 20 years with some of the world's best and largest restaurant enterprises. I left the business world behind, living in Northwest Georgia and writing about avocations including outdoor excursions, family-friendly travel, road trips, exploration ideas for active seniors and some of my community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries, and I'm still counting up. I'm a traveler, hiker, cyclist, blogger, marketing consultant, community volunteer and local high school band nerd who previously has lived in Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Mississippi. I'm a South Louisiana-born French Cajun whose great-grandparents were sugar farmers, bar owners and reputed bootleggers. My upbringing in food-rich Louisiana and my restaurant industry career affirmed my status as an over-qualified eater. That also inspired the name of my blog, OurTravelCafe.com. There, I offer up a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA
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