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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
Changing of the Guard
Breakfast is Served
Let's Hang Out
Hard to Get
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OspreyZone Highlights: George Returns
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Special Thanks to Tommy and Christina: George & Gracie’s Landlords
Written by Dr. Rob Bierregaard & Illustrated by Kate Garchinsky
Take flight with Belle, an osprey born on Martha’s Vineyard as she learns to fly and migrates for the first time to Brazil and back–a journey of more than 8,000 miles.
IMPORTANT: Messages from osprey experts
I haven’t seen the little guy yet this morning, but I would be very surprised if he survived the night. That sure was tough to watch yesterday, but that whole process is as much a part of the essence of being an Osprey as is eating a fish. It’s part of the life of Ospreys that was rarely seen before we started putting cameras in nests. As hard as it is, we should not label the behavior as mean or cruel. Being mean or cruel implies that there is intent to do harm just for harm’s sake. Those young were responding to a set of stimuli (very little food being delivered to the nest and the presence of a very small young) in a way that evolution has hard-wired into them. It helps ensure their survival. Nature is not cruel. It is harsh, unforgiving, and often random (had the little guy been born 1st, he would have been just as aggressive as was his sibling), but not cruel or mean.
Paul Henry ospreyzone July 1, 2015 at 8:17 am
Thanks Rob for bringing your knowledge and experience to help us all gain perspective here. We are all saddened by the events that unfolded before our eyes and it’s only natural for all of us to feel and express our emotions appropriately. There have been many issues pertaining to intervention which have been discussed amongst us all. There is no doubt in my mind that the right decision was made, to let nature take it’s course. By the way, that doesn’t equate to heartless, on the contrary, nobody feels worse about this then the apparent decision makers. I say apparent, because when all was said and done, and all the issues were properly weighed, there really weren’t any other options. It was clearly pointed out, by experts, that intervening at this stage could have spooked the whole nest to the point of losing all the young. If the little one was saved, and nursed back to health, what kind of a life would it have had, perhaps caged up in a zoo. I remember when I was younger I saw a golden eagle in captivity, caged behind a wire mesh. I could practically see it’s tears. As far as placing the little one in another nest, such a low probability of success would never have justified the possibility of spooking the nest. There’s a piece of me, however heavy hearted, that believes that perhaps it is better to be born free and die free. We mourn for the little one as we marvel at the wonders of nature.
Thanks for your query, and you have my admiration for persevering. We know very well how tough your job is, including dealing with an anxious public.
Our policy with our Bird Cams project is essentially “just say no” to pleas for interference. The behavior you are witnessing – while seemingly cruel and heartless to us – is natural for many kinds of birds, especially those that feed on variable, unpredictable food supplies. The little nestling does have a chance to survive, but if it does not then that result was “meant to be” by the nature of Osprey breeding strategy. The wonderful things about these nest cameras also sometimes yield the difficult things for us to watch. As you might know, we actually post a “siblicide alert” on some of our cams where we suspect the possibility exists.
I’m copying your note to Charles Eldermire, project leader for our Bird Cams. He may have some additional comments, and he would be the one to ask if we might be able to use your stored files for biological analysis.
Best wishes, and good luck,
John W. Fitzpatrick
Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
It’s also important to acknowledge that intervening can also cause problems of its own—depending on the ages of the birds in the nest, disturbing them can trigger an early fledge. We have restricted the scenarios in which we would even consider intervening to injuries or dangers that are explicitly human-derived. For example, 3 or 4 years ago we were alerted by viewers that one of the osprey chicks at the Hellgate Osprey nest was entangled in monofilament line. We consulted with our partners there (wildlife biologists, raptor researchers, raptor rehabbers) to determine if the monofilament was an issue, and if intervening was both likely to solve the issue AND not have bad effects on the other nestlings. In the end, a quick trip to the nest was scheduled via a bucket truck, the monofilament was removed, and the nestlings all eventually fledged. In that case, all of the permits were already in hand to be studying the ospreys, and we had already discussed how to approach issues in the nest.
Good luck to the young one—hope it all turns out well.
Bird Cams Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
I’ve been to your site—great cam! And I noticed the runt in the nest. This is just normal Osprey reproduction. It happens all the time and you should not intervene. It’s tough to watch, but it’s how nature works. Ospreys almost always lay 3 eggs and on average fledge between 1 and 1.5 young each year. They stagger the hatch so there is a spread of ages in the young. That way, if food is short, the first-hatched (and therefore largest) will get enough food to survive while the smaller nest mates do not. If all three young were the same size and there was only enough food for 1 young, none of the young would get enough food and they would all die. If there’s lots of food, the smallest will eventually get fed and can survive. These nest cams can show some gut-wrenching scenes. The most infamous perhaps was one of the very first Osprey cams (on Long Island somewhere), where the smallest young died. One of the adults carried it out of the nest and after several minutes flew back into the nest and fed it to the other young. Waste-not-want-not at its goriest. At Hog Island up in Maine just last week a Bald Eagle came in and took the young out of the nest. Last year at another nest, cameras documented a Great-horned Owl taking young Ospreys out of a nest in NJ or MD. All of these things have been going on for millions of years and Ospreys are doing fine.
Academy of Natural Sciences
8:34amEDT—George brings in a guppie/unknown….Trey gets a few bites; Uno takes over.
And—–a CHUNK @ 12:06pm…which Gracie is there to feed Trey……………………..
7:00am- Just keep trying…
…………just keep trying………………….
Poor George!! After he came back with another fish, chick #2 was in such a hurry to grab it, s/he tried to grab it but grabbed George’s toe instead!! That had to hurt!!
Thank you Betsy for this really cute video. Have not had time to look at site in days. So worried about Trey getting enough to eat.
SYLVIA: Thank you!! I think chick #3’s been getting enough … it seems like chick #1 or #2 always grab the fish, but then there are times when they’re not around and chick #3 either gets a fish or gets fed by Gracie or George!! Or Gracie takes the rest of the fish away from chick #1 or #2 and feeds chick #3!!
He needs intact toes if he’s going to keep catching all those fish!! 😀
Evva heard of toe jam? Needed some on fish………………..like chutney..
These osprey daddies amaze me. They could peck the baby in the head to make it let go but they dont. They just wait till the baby figures it out. so patient!
7:19 am–Dos needed cuddle time. He had a lot to tell Trey. Uno flew out and up to the perch. Dos had an opinion about that! Much more vocal than he used to be.
Thank you CarolV for all your pics and comments. I have not had a chance to look at site for days. Appreciate Everyone.
Gracie calls …Lil one calls and Lil one saying “feed me now”. I don’t have a trained ear. Denver Holt, president and founder of Owl
Research Institute suggest the Ospreys have their own calls…since everyone is sending great synopsis of the days and pictures posted r wonderful and Rjoneal sends picture through email trying something new. Another item to add to my notes Ha..just a start and little interesting.
Watching our family last night realized how much they have touched my heart. How lucky we are to view this very special family
Again a Thank You for all who make this possible.
This is SO INTERESTING!!!! Thanks for adding a new dimension to our learning experience!
Interesting stuff June!
this is the squished version…Ha..when spread out you can see each vibration has its own peak..just messing with it..
@ 6:47am….George brought in a small fish for Trey. She had it for 12 minutes and was feeding herself well…Uno came in and took it peacefully. Dos dropped in, hopefully, minutes later.
The Three Amigos this a.m. Looks like Uno was there overnight; Dos came in about 5:40
Forecast…mid 70s and overcast overnight…we had some sprinkles on the South Fork, but couldn’t tell if Ospreyland had any. Sunday not so sunny. Mid 70s with a chance of t-storms all throughout the day
7-30-16 Reply- Betsy- good job on videos and putting out a list with all info on fledge dates. Just now got watch them.
rjoneal: Thank you! They’re so much fun to watch … every time I think it’s going to be a quiet period something funny happens!!!
7-30-16 All 3bb in the nest
7-30-16 reply-Marlene thank you for noticing the feather duster photo my favorites are when they have ruffled feathers.
7-30-16 Reply- CarolV- KISS-CAM was right couldn’t believe that Bb1 and Bb2 gave beak kisses to each other found it adorable and was glad I got a pic of it. For those who missed it since there was so much going on I am going to post it again below. I have just never seen siblings do that unless food was involved and there was no food in this case.
How Sweet!!! Thanks for getting this great shot and posting it again! I never saw siblings do this before either. Amazing!
rjoneal: They’ve done it a bunch of times, especially when they were younger … Don’t you remember the video “He’s My Brother,” from June 28th!!
7-30-16 Reply Donna W Thank you for commenting on my Bb1 feather duster pic.
Rjoneal… That is such an adorable shot you captured and so is the hummingbird photo… Thanks for posting them
7-30-16 Osprey Followers -here is pic of Humming bird
I know we have hummingbirds n the Island, but it is rare I get to see them! This is great!
Cool pics rjonael!
CarolV, the chicks do return to the same area…
Same GENERAL area…
Number #3 is the cutest babe, tickles me to watch with Big smiles 🙂
I do remember BETSY!, was the ONE who said she thought # 2 “Ray” would be the first to fledge: date or no date she was RIGHT! did anyone guess that #2 would fledge before the rest?
GREAT! JuneC for accurate guess for #1 first Fledge! 🙂
One looks a little different than the others. Less white on the wings. Are you sure that’s #1, or a prior offspring?
Just look at our beautiful Uno!!!
Reply to Betsy …… Hummingbirds.
I KNOW I should have paid attention when I saw the 3 …. but I am working at home and just by luck, saw them. Stress…. stresssssssss.
I only know it was before noon. And it was so quick. Mea culpa. R.H.
PS….. and thank you for your precious volunteering, making this experience a double joy and ever so educational. Do you ever sleep? (:-}
Rodee: You’re welcome!! … Sleep? What’s that? … Just kidding!! Yes, I find time to sleep … just doesn’t seem like it sometimes!! 😀
I see in video of #1 come back in from out & about #2 CHEERING her on as she comes in how sweet!
I just want you all to know that putting time & effort into pics with thought/caption is very special to me and i’m sure many others that are busy & miss out on when/time things take place, for its nice to see what happened although to reply to those events in time is very difficult for my comments show up days & pages later when things have moved on to the next happening…anyway thanks this is my delayed LAUGH and AWW Such great shots in time & capturing it in video cant ask for a better Web Cam Site! Five Stars * * * * * is my rating!
JUNE C. I just realized you guessed 7/29 for #1 !!! Good going!
Dos- out already
TREY- guesses left—–7/31-KathleenS ; 8/3-Trey- CarolV ; 8/4-Lil’ one-JuneC ; 8/5-Tiger-Jara
7-30-16, 6:30pmWhat a pleasure to see our great family together for an evening meal, does anyone remember when the babes started to fish themselves, it seems to me that they are early to learn…thanks for BEING, dear OZ family!
6:24pm- George brings in a PORGY…
Gracie wins this one…
6:33pm- George brings a back-up…
Trey got fed by George AND by Gracie…..YAY!
Thank you…I know all the kids are hungry, but I was worried about 3 getting something before bed.. 🙂
Uno just spotted a fish hiding under the plastic…no idea when that was from! Good eyes, grasshopper!
I saw that too! I kept rewinding, trying to figure out where it came from. I never saw anything that would solve the mystery of the “appearing” fish!
Busy afternoon in the nest! Toe biting and stealing from Dad; tug-of-fish and stealing from Mom; general mayhem in that right corner, so I couldn’t tell who brought what. At one point, George, I guess was in and out, hot-footing it out over the bay. Who could blame him?
In any event, at least two fish wound up in the nest and Gracie confiscated one to feed Trey. Yay!
Just another episode for “The Real Ospreys of Long Island”
AND…a sailboat race…………..
This was the thanks George (I believe) got for the small fish he brought in!…BETSY or RJONEAL: any more of those glasses? Didn’t want to let go, and the fish was right there!
Let’s hope toes are safe now! TY
I will eat your foot!!
Two small fish deliveries around 14:42-14:47.
Wow #2 and 3 were very hungry… #1 got the first fish delivery and 2 got the second delivery.
Here is a pic of 2 grabbing the talon after it dropped the fish….
YAY! Congrats to #1 she did it!! Very special thanks to everyone for keeping us all up with events! Comments, video’s & pictures Don’t know what i’d do without you all, i’m working 2 jobs now for extra Christmas $ which is coming up on us so fast, can’t believe how fast this year is going. Our babes are flying now and soon will be catching their own fish Oh My Gosh! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Just had all the Christmas in July sales, as if you need a reminder!
At 11:55am all three back in the nest. It is lunch time after all!! How exciting.
It’s 12:46 and the three amigos are in the nest. George comes back with seaweed, and #1 and #2 are telling him they don’t know how to fish yet, please get us lunch. He takes off; let’s see if he catches something for them. In the meantime, some serious wing flapping by #3 and some jumping.
At 9:45 George brought in a big half fish and it’s all for baby!! Looks like #3 wants it all for herself, wants Daddy to leave, and Daddy takes the hint. So she’s self-feeding pretty good. Ate almost the entire half fish. Mommy came back to finish it, and then #1 and #2 returned and there was nothing for them.
Chick #1 06/03/2016 07/29/2016 = 56 days
Chick #2 06/05/2016 07/25/2016 = 50 days
Chick #3 06/08/2016 ? = ? days
😀 That didn’t translate well when it posted!! Everything lines up to the left margin 😀
Let me try again:
Chick #1 hatched on 06/03/2016 fledged on 07/29/2016 = 56 days
Chick #2 hatched on 06/05/2016 fledged on 07/25/2016 = 50 days
Chick #3 hatched on 06/08/2016 fledged on ? = ? days
At almost 9:21 a.m., #3 was alone in the nest. Gracie had flown away. An intruder must’ve landed on the perch and #3 was squawking. All of a sudden, he hit the deck, lying flat as a pancake, as the chicks do when George and Gracie give out their warning calls. It was so cute.
Betsy, thanks for posting #1’s initial take-off. It was cute to see Peanut following him around. Maybe now there will be more food for our baby, and he’ll get stronger and take a short flight. Maybe #2 is showing his sibling where he hid out for a couple of days. The photo of both of them flying together that was also posted was adorable, too. Love our osprey family. We really have to enjoy the remaining time with them. Can’t believe August is only a few days away, and then September . . . gulp! We all know what that means.
#3 is really getting fed well today with nobody else home, nice self feeding here. Hope we get a visit from 1 and/or 2 today…
Hey June B thanks for the info this morning about #1 taking his first flight. Maybe the time is a sign we should all play that number since #1 left at 5:47 & #2 returned the other day at 5:47. Hmmmmm.
Pattye: That would have been really good, but, chick #1 left yesterday at 4:55 pm!! 😀
One of the biggies back this am at 5:35….only stayed about 10-15 mins.
The chicks don’t leave the nest at the same time — they fledge individually when they are ready (of course, I suppose they could be ready all at the same time … but I imagine that’s extremely rare!!).
Or “…Sometimes a real gust when they’re hovering can lead to the first flight. Sometimes in can be one of the young moving under the helicoptering bird. …” Rob Bierregaard July 24, 2016 at 5:05 pm
At seven to eight weeks of age the young osprey will take their first flight. They spend days practicing flying and perching, near the male’s feeding perch calling when the male returns with food. Two weeks after fledging, the young will start to follow the male on hunting trips. Four to eight weeks after fledging the young Osprey will begin to emulate their parents and hunt fish on their own.
For at least two weeks after fledging, the young Ospreys return to their nest for food brought in by their parents. Usually the young stay in the area, close to the nest site, as they improve their skill in the air, before they then begin to make attempts to catch a fish for themselves. http://www.ospreys.org.uk/osprey-facts/
Well, chick #1 finally did it!! I hope it doesn’t take her/him 55 hours to get back!!!
Thanks for the video. I was glued to the video yesterday – it was evident he was ready to go! The little one was watching everything he did!
Lol. Your funny! Thanks for video!
You’re welcome Jessica V.and Kelly!
I saw it yesterday and I loved how #3 watched it leave and then settled down to enjoy the nest by itself!
Thank you Betsy – guess they are telling us the end of the season is upon us – happy and sad tears! But (like everyone else) overjoyed to see Baby 3 thriving – will be lots of tears of joy when he/she leaves. It’s been quite the ride – but I’m still buckled in!
Robin: You’re welcome! Yes, it’s been quite the ride, knuckle-whitening at times!! 🙂
Many thanks for the great video Betsy! Easy as one, two, three and she’s off !!!
Donna W: I think #2 was up on the perch telling chick #1 “Just do it, what are you waiting for? I flew and I’m younger than you!!” And it looked as if chick #2 turned around and said “Enough already … I can fly … I’ll do it when I’m good and ready!” 😀
And now is back!!
Have the osprey been officially named yet? thanks!
No- probably when #3 flies
7-30-16 Reply- CarolK No, you can still enter if you want at top of page is baby naming contest tab. The naming contest starts every year right around when the babies start to fledge. I like your pic !
wonderful video Betsy. Thank you so very much. This is a keeper!
Wow! Thanks, Betsy~~quite a fledge. The wing span is enormous. It also appears that Trey was tracking sibling’s inaugural flight. Thanks again for capturing the moment on video.
You’re welcome Jenny and Helen!
BETSY – thanks for the video!! I had missed this but I was so sure I had seen #1 fly back into the nest sometime after 5:00pm (well, closer to 6pm).
Do you know when he came back? 🙂
Monica: Today at 11:55 am — there’s a video below the take off video. I was so hoping it was chick #1 who came back last evening or even this morning so I could make an all-in-one video!! 😀
I forgot she unloaded “ballast” before getting up in the air!
I was going to put something like that!! “Make sure to poop before you take off” but I didn’t know if people would have liked seeing that in the video!! 😀
Why not…we all love poop shots! Even good advice for human fliers! Tiny airplane bathrooms and all that………………………………..
The second one to leave the nest at 5:47 this AM. Tres got all the food for breakfast.
Chick 1 fledged yesterday afternoon. Was that #2 who was in the nest this a.m. and left before breakfast?
06:13 George delivers a very large headless fish to the nest. Trey gets to have a nice one on one breakfast with Gracie. This is the catch-up time that our little one needs. Surprised no one else has turned up yet to join in.
6:13am………big and headless…………..and no one to share?
“It’s a beautiful morning…”
And then there was 1 ?
And then there was 1
This morning, 7-29-16 … did anyone see the 3 Hummingbirds fluttering around the nest ?????????? Here and gone in seconds.
and this is for June c. THE THREE AMIGOS is a precious shot – absolutely precious. You really captured them. And the title is a perfect fit. THANKS. RH.
Rodee: Do you remember what time the hummingbirds were there? Maybe I have video and I could post it.
I rewound to about some time after 5:00pm today (Friday). Am I seeing things? Did #1 fledge today?! I saw two chicks fly out and then back.
Haven’t been able to get on the site much the last couple of days, but when I scrolled back today to a bit after 4pm, Uno took flight!! Was this his/her first time, or did she fledge earlier in the day? Trey looks so lonely in the nest by himself when it got dark. Misses his roommates. Just hope we don’t go through another couple of days of one missing in action!!!
Looks like #1 fledges at 7:40pm tonight. Not back at dark…….lil bit all alone in nest tonight.
Well 2 down, 1 to go.
Poor littlebit’s all alone on the nest. She seemed a bit upset after #1 took the leap at 19:40. After that she did a lot of practicing. It was almost like she was saying ” I want to go too”.
It’s a happy moment and a sad moment, the babies are growing up. I just know I’m gonna cry when Littlebit fledges.
Me too Paula..love that little girl/guy! Hope he/she stays for a couple more weeks..really needs to get big and strong. I look up and call to him/her on my daily walks, just to say hello!
7:41 pm our baby is left alone with (mom?) then she leaves, but returns.
Feel as if baby needs a lot more food more often to build up muscle, fat and continue to develop those feathers.
#1 and #2 gone
I think that is exactly what he is thinking..Ha
Great caption and pic, Melba. She’s got that look!! Love it!!
I can relate to chick # 3 alone in the nest, my older siblings would go out on Friday fun nights and leave me at home. ?
Trinity: I was one of the older ones in my family!!! … I used to laugh at my younger sister — ?nah nah nah nah nah ? Now I wish it was the other way around!! 😀
looks like #1 fledged and #2 fledged and little #3 is all alone on nest 20:36
#1 has fledged 16:55!!!
Last one at home. For right now anyway.
Tommy I do appreciate the pictures that Carol and besty posted but can this site be info also. Do all the chicks leave the nest at the same time and not return?
If anything like last year, the chicks fledge at all different times, I guess when they feel ready they go. Last year all the fledged chicks would come back to the nest when the parents brought food. Last year all the birds left on their own timetable, there was one chick that did not seem to want to leave, but George gave it some encouragement that it was time to go, and they took off for migration together, from what was reported here.
The mother generally leaves first, toward the end of August. The fledglings generally go separately, when they’re ready. The father generally leaves last. George waited for the second chick last year, who seemed reluctant to go. It appeared as if he was ready to go and even coaxed the fledgling to leave. Chances are, they did not fly together all the way to S.A., but there is no way of knowing.
Recommend ospreytrax.com as a source showing the journey these birds make..not ours, but others from the East Coast. Rob Bierregaard, who comments here sometimes and is listed at the top, is an expert who researches and tracks osprey.
And, no, the chicks do not return, as a general rule.
In case I mis-understood: for now, the 3 chicks each fledge at different dates, returning to the nest to be fed. In a couple of weeks, they will be following the adults to learn how to fish. I was referring to their eventual departure for the fall.Sorry if there was confusion.
Looks like Chick 1 fledged tonight?
It looks like Uno had fledged
George has been hanging out at the nest; doing some nestorations…keeping Trey company….Trey just had a lot to say, telling Daddy how she feels.
Yes Betsy!” Over the moon!” is a perfect expression of the JOY i felt, & all of Us all keeping the FAITH! This season has been another “life of Osprey” learning experience, i have learned, personally, expect the unexpected and i believe G&G are learning that too! What a blessing
“… George brings another fish, Gracie takes it and has to play tug-o-fish with … #2 until she can get it away to start lunch” Dorothy July 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm
“… Gracie had to work hard to hold on to this one! George just dropped it off and Dos wants charge of it! … ” CarolV July 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm
#2 is getting ‘too big for his britches’ as we used to say in the South.
Absolutely loved your comment for this video! How true when the little snots think their britches are bigger than Mom’s!
I meant that #3 looks lonely and is probably depressed. Sorry for the mistake.
Poor #1 looks lonely, and is probably depressed.
July 29, 2016, at 7:41 pm, #1 fledged. Poor #3 could only watch and probably say “I am next”.
Tommy do the chicks imprint from their parents if they are the same sex
Carol V and Betsy: I sure do like your comments on your videos. I think they are so cute. I feel they are stress releasers.
Thank you from me, too, Elaine!!
Just shows how George step up to provide for his family..
Just shows how George step up to provide for his family
What a year makes for George and Gracie to bring up 3 strong and beautiful osprey.