Space-use strategies are essential behavioural skills during the fledging-to-dispersal period, when physical capabilities and the ability to explore the external world are developed. Here we describe the space-use strategies of 13 radio-tagged ospreys Pandion haliaetus, released as part of a reintroduction project in central Italy, during their post-fledging dependence period. The ospreys remained within a radius of about 1 km of the hacking tower for about twenty days after release. Later they began to explore more of their surroundings. The occurrence and frequency of explorations further than 1 km from the release point generally increased with time, even though juveniles continued to frequent the vicinity of the release pens. The translocated ospreys showed marked aggregation perhaps because the period spent at the hacking tower could have reinforced the feeling of belonging to the same brood, promoting a consequent strong association among the young. Also, the absence of parents may have led juveniles to aggregate as a compensation behaviour for the lack of parental care. These explanations, which are not mutually exclusive, may have resulted in more time being spent in intraspecific interactions, accounting for the long pre-dispersal phase that we observed in the present study.
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