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Early 2020 Highlights

Osprey Rescue

Tommy Aprea - Windsong Osprey Nest

Tip:  If the nest is empty, use the red scroll bar to rewind the stream up to 12 hours

July 9, 2020: Sadly, George and Jane’s first chick has passed away. The remaining egg is long overdue and questionable.

Please be advised that nature can be brutal – viewer discretion is advised.
Best viewed with Google Chrome.

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Special Thanks to Tommy and Christina: George & Gracie’s Landlords

Belle’s Journey

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.

Click HERE for more information!

IMPORTANT: Messages from osprey experts

Rob Bierregaard July 1, 2015 at 7:24 am
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.

4818eecc88292926c58414a82c884c71Paul 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.

Reprinted with the permission of John W. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Hello Paul,

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

In addition, Charles Eldermire, Bird Cams Project Leader, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Writes:

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.

charles.

*******************
Charles Eldermire
Bird Cams Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Paul,

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.

Rob Bierregaard
Academy of Natural Sciences
Drexel University
http://www.ospreytrax.com

    44,355 Comments

    1. CarolV April 7, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

      So good to catch up with everyone….
      AIDAN- thanks for filling us in ….we appreciate all you do………….EVERYONE who reported in on G&G , thanks for that info; they may have a head start, but I’m sure we will just love them all the more for the delay…
      TOMMY and PAUL…hope everything ok and realize you are busy..positive thoughts going your way…..
      BETSY- HI_HI_HI_..if you have had any luck with comment restoring, you’ve probably seen we’ve been missing and worrying about you. Glad to see you’re back!!!!! Bummer about the computer..you broke it’s brain!

      RJONEAL- still here- can’t shake me..the weather here has been cool and rainy….at least we’re catching up on a two year drought.! And I will meditate good thoughts toward the nest, the admins., the G family, the OZ family et alia! AND meditate to ignore any negative thoughts or posts…………..hoping to get no headaches from all that meditating!
      ….

      • CarolV April 7, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

        BTW- both Vic and Vera are back @ Verizon nest in Cutchogue…pretty sure same pair, acting like old married couple…him de-heading fish on his post while she squawks from nest , telling him to get her dinner over to nest!!! Vic was right on sched on or about 3/25…Vera was home maybe 6-7 days later; I’ve taken extra time off, so I’m not exact on my dates :+}

    2. rodee hansen April 6, 2017 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      Is there anyone else out there thinking about another “family re-union?” Rodee

    3. Rocky Birdviewer April 6, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      Checking in for the 2017 season!

    4. Isobel April 6, 2017 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Lovely to see so many familiar names popping up again. When I saw Betsy I thought now we are ready for action. Looking forward so much to another great season. Best wishes to all.

    5. Redkayak April 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Someone is on the platform and I understand two have been seen

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:21 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Redkayak thanks for the info and welcome back for another year.

    6. Nancy April 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Why is Aiden’s top post dated April 24, 2017 ? And Ospreyzone’s post dated August 2017 ??

      • Aidan April 6, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

        It’s just a trick we can use to pin important comments to the top, so everybody sees them.

        • JP(K) April 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

          Well I hope no one, man or bird, was up there this afternoon. It was biblical.. We’ll keep checking…

    7. Nancy Hungerford April 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      I have a tall metal not used chimney on my cottage right opposite the bay. The osprey circle each year. I’m not sure if it’s tall enough to add a top and see what happens. Any suggestions? Nancy

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply Nancy Humgerford if you are really interested contact your local Audubon or Wildlife Center they should be able to help you if nothing else give you some good and accurate info. Keep us posted and let us know if you are able to build some sort of platform to entice the birds to build a nest there.
        Love our Osprey Followers and Family

        • CarolV April 14, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

          I’d find out, too, about the structural durability of all that weight on a metal chimney and the bird poop on my roof–and the “conversation” from up there on my sanity!!!

    8. CynthiaY April 4, 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Can’t wait!!! Come on Web cam, we need you! When George and Gracie return, this tells me “Winter’s Really Over!”. The hope of new life ahead! Love reading all the helpful comments as well.

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Cynthia Y Yes, winter is over and soon we will be watching our favorite Live Osprey Family. Welcome back for another great year and Season 3.
        Love Our Osprey Family and Followers

    9. Lilly April 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm - Reply

      Any idea if George n Gracie have shown up yet?

    10. Pattie Hoolie April 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      It has been reported in local community papers that both Osprey are in the nest 🙂

      • margaretR April 6, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

        Reply Pattie Hoolie- What is the name of the local newspaper please?

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:28 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Pattie Hoolie can you post the article from your local newspaper about our Osprey Family? If not thanks for passing on the info. Pretty sure George is there but Gracie has not been there until at least around Easter so unless she has changed drastically we do not expect her to arrive till Easter time.

    11. Lily April 2, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      I know camera won’t be on for another few days, hopefully, but any idea if our birds have shown up yet?

    12. Victoria Schiman April 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Where is the LIVE video feed for my osprey nest???

    13. Michael G. Martin April 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Group
      Does anyone know if we may have confirmation on if George and Gracie are back. The nesting pair on back at Cedar Beach which is a stones throw from our nest. And I believe I saw an Osprey fishing in the pond across the street street from where I live. I hope there here

      Mike

    14. Judy c. April 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Hi everyone,I can’t wait to see them again.. This will be my third year..Looking forward to another year..💓👏👏👏👏

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Judy C. Glad to have you back as well, hard to believe 3rd year our family has been together, we cant wait to see George and Gracie back together again too! 🙂

    15. Marlene March 31, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Hi, Aidan,
      I, too, thank you for the update. We are all excited about the third season and a new family with our beloved George and Gracie,
      As far as some of us shortening their proper names occasionally, we all know what their real names are. There is nothing wrong with using abbreviations. Look at how many people have nicknames for their proper names. Please, let’s be user friendly this year and just enjoy all the work that Paul, Tommy, and Aidan put into this for our enjoyment and not be “knick picky.”
      Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

      • Rjoneal April 6, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

        4-6-17 Reply- Marlene good comment, now if we all give one big osprey scream maybe G&G will here us and if they are not home yet they will be on their way.

    16. Helen March 31, 2017 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      It is miserable weather here – cold and has been raining constantly and in the mid-30’s. I don’t know of course, but I assume one or both are here and wonder how they are dealing with it.

    17. Betsy March 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Everyone!! I’ve missed you all and OZ!! OMG — you would not believe it!! Back in November my laptop crashed — but good — and I lost everything … all my OZ pictures and videos because I hadn’t backed up any of my OZ stuff (I actually had planned to do that the next day or so — see, he who hesitates is lost!! 🙂 !!) After nearly having a nervous breakdown, I ended up sending the hard drive out to a super duper specialized data recovery company and they were able to recover most, but unfortunately not all, of my pictures and videos (for a very pretty penny, I might add!!) I finally got my butt in gear and, just today, finally got another laptop. I see Aidan’s note above and am eagerly looking forward to seeing George and Gracie again and reading everyone’s comments again!! Thanks Paul and Tommy for another year of OZ!!

    18. CarolV March 31, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

      http://ospreytrax.com/2017%20Spring.html ……………… Dr.Rob’s birds making their way…

    19. Mary March 31, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Two pairs of Ospreys are back in their nests in Lloyd Neck as of 3/26/17.

    20. Dawn March 31, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

      HI all, as we all eagerly await the camera restoration, I wanted to share the shot I got of my male Osprey in Port Washington, NY..It’s a little fuzzy as I was shooting into the light but I hope you enjoy. Can’t wait to start watching G&G again!

      • Rjoneal April 6, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

        4-6-17 Reply- Dawn beautiful pic thanks for sharing what beautiful birds the ospreys.

    21. CarolV March 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      I’m having difficulty getting whole post to copy- if it doesn’t, go to Chesapeake Conservancy site for interesting post, featuring some info from Dr. Rob, that touches on some questions we’ve had about young returning to natal nest and even males supporting two nests….here goes………..

      Chesapeake Conservancy
      2 hrs
      What’s this? Two of our donors alerted us to some very interesting osprey behavior at the mouth of the Magothy River just outside Annapolis. Over the weekend, two males were battling it out in the sky above the female on this nest. By Monday, all three were together on the platform, and they wondered if this was a male offspring who had returned to the nest. We turned to our osprey expert friends for their thoughts on this interesting behavior.
      Dr. Rob Bierregaard, Drexel Un…
      See More

        • CarolV April 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

          Just checked the cc.org address above and found the post I was citing was not there. The day I posted, the article was right one the page, first up when it posted. Sorry if this was misleading, but it’s a good website in general. Don’t know what happened to Rob’s comments…..

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply -CarolV you crack me up even after 2 years and I was going to post but you beat me to it. Great minds think alike haa.

    22. HollyW March 30, 2017 at 10:47 am - Reply

      My son just walked our dog and an osprey is in the nest.. I’m away..not sure if it’s George or Gracie or an intruder! Hopefully, once the camera is up and running we will see who is in the nest! Welcome back everyone.. East Marion missed u!

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Holly W pretty sure George is there for the past 2-3 years he has been there but Gracie usually will not been seen till around Easter. There has been lots of Ospreys around just like last year so until we can all get a view and identify his markings we are anxious to see him.
        Thank you for sharing any info you have on the nest. It is comforting to know most of the ospreys have returned to their summer homes.
        If your son or you can get a picture without trespassing of course, since obviously you live in the area that would be even better but if not still nice to know their are sightings of the birds.
        Glad to have you with us and here is to a wonderful Season 3.
        Love Our Osprey Family and Followers

    23. Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      3-29-17 CarolV, did you notice gracey is up to his or her old tricks again just like last year? Some people dont have anything better to do.
      Do you have vacation time to use when George and Gracie start their family so you can spend some extra time watching? You know I am going to need your humor and weather reports along with keeping things rolling as more and more people join us. It will be interesting to see if Betsy joins us this year or not. Still waiting to see if she is going to post something to us.
      I need our G&G family still having withdrawls. No other osprey can compare to them. Talons crossed cam will be on soon. Send lots of positive thoughts out with me. HummHummm..
      meditate. 🙂

    24. theresa rosko March 29, 2017 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      waiting patiently like everyone else for the 2017 Osprey adventures!!!!

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:51 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Theresa Rosko nice to have you with us and thank you for waiting patiently even though the Osprey Fever has struck us all we are trying to stay calm.
        Here is to a great Season 3 of George and Gracie.
        Love our Osprey Family and Followers

    25. CarolV March 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      http://ospreytrax.com/2017%20Spring.html

      Latest from Rob B. about his birds….GO GO GO! Good tracking, Dr. Rob!

      • Rjoneal April 25, 2017 at 1:07 am - Reply

        4-24-17 Reply- Kathleen well nice to have everyone back and I see you still have kitty for your pic what a cutie Since the camera was down until the camera came on no one could be certain that G &G were back. This is what I have though. HollyW stated on March 30, 2017 her son saw an osprey at the nest. Then Holly was able to get a pic that she posted of an osprey at the nest on April 10, 2017 but not sure that osprey was George or Gracie. You can look at her pic and make your own decision. Then finally someone that lives by the nest heard what sounded to be Gracie on April 12, 2017. Now we know that George arrives first so we can bet that George was there but as far as dates go well thats ifffy.
        Aidan did post while camera was down and confirmed that both George and Gracie are at the nest on April 21, 2017 ( A quick status update on the nest: George and Gracie are definitely back, and it looks like there are no eggs in the nest yet )
        Now we know George returned on March 24,2016 although some people do have March 17,2016 so if he is predictable he would have been at the nest around those dates.
        Gracie returned April 2, 2016 and some have March 31,2016 and March 27,2016 .
        Now from what I remember it takes about 16 days to lay an egg. Betsy takes good notes if you want to ask her input but this is what I got. Hope it helps!
        Osprey Hugs

    26. CATHY March 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      I’m getting so excited to see George and Gracie again…

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Cathy nice to have you with us again and yes we are anxiously awaiting our first glimpse of George and Gracie back together again. Season 3 starting off a bit bumpy but maybe this means the bad is here so only the good is left.
        Love our Osprey Family and Followers

    27. SUE March 29, 2017 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Ahhhhhhhh, I’ve been thinking of this site quite a bit lately & remember that I saw the first osprey on 4/1 of last year, so came on just now to see that I’m not the only one looking for them. What happened to the camera?? Hoping to see it up & working soon, but understand you have to do things when you can. Anyway, hello again! Thank you, & anticipating the view!!!

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Sue Hello again to you, they are having some issues but it will be all worked out. 3rd Season we all can not wait. Hang in there and soon we will all be watching our George and Gracie Live from Long Island.
        Love Our Osprey Family and Followers

    28. Shirley49 March 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      Anxiously awaiting arrival and web cam of George and Gracie. Followed them all last summer. What a thrill. I checked on them every day and enjoyed every minute of it.

      • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:05 pm - Reply

        3-29-17 Reply- Shirley49 Glad you are back with us for another Season.
        Love our Osprey Family and Followers

    29. Rjoneal March 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      3-27-17 Reply- CarolV do you know what happened to Achieva baby Ospreys, now there is NONE. Have you herd anything ? I noticed 2 days ago I did not see them but was not sure if they were under mom now defiantly I do not see in the nest.

      • CarolV March 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm - Reply

        Rjoneal- they just died, within a day of each other….heartbreaking……….Some suggested inexperience of mother at feeding them…I don’t know, but when I was able to catch a feeding, she was trying. And they went down hill rapidly. …so unknown causes. She looked so sad and lost. I know, anthropomorphism to some, but I’m just saying what I saw. She even briefly tried sitting on the non-viable egg.

      • CarolV March 30, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

        HELEN- on Achieva—As near as I can track…..Sadly, I saw the passing of 2nd(prob 1st hatched)chick on 3/26 about 7-715am….the other chick appeared to be dying, if not already gone, 3/24,in the evening….RIP little spirits..safe journey

        • CarolV March 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

          Sorry- meant Rjoneal ….always see errors as I hit post, wishing I could call back!

    30. Dan Raleigh March 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      Good Afternoon,

      Trying to be patient…….

      Kindly post if there is anything I can do to help.

      Warmest Regards,

      Dan

    31. Helen March 28, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      Both Ospreys next door are back.

    32. margaretR March 28, 2017 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Osprey back in the nest on 25A in Fort Salonga!!!

    33. Rjoneal March 27, 2017 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      3-27-17 Reminder of what our couple looked like last Season 2016 hoping they make it home soon
      Sending Osprey Hugs to all

    34. gracey March 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO START WITH THE GEO INSTEAD OF THE PROPER GEORGE ?

      And what kind of a name for a beautiful bird is GRA ? TERRIBLE She is a gorgeous GRACIE…AMEN…

      • Kathy B. March 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

        I don’t want to hear GEO either. Their names are George and Gracie….use it. I love this site but I got really fed up last year with the constant overload of pictures and “stuff”. Can we please keep it to just chat for the most part? There was way to much to scroll thru to get to the meat & potatoes and watch our family .

        • Rjoneal April 6, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

          4-6-17 Reply- Kathy B. I am surprised with your comment Kathy B. I did not think you were a negative type of person. We have had many good conversations in the past years.
          Toooo bad you DONT OWN THIS SITE, SO YOU DO NOT MAKE THE RULES!

          This is a public space and you can not dictate to others what they can and can not do.

          If you do not like the pictures or abbreviations and comments DONT READ OR LOOK AT THEM. Just stay at the top of the page and watch the live cam thats why it is at the top!

        • Trinity April 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm - Reply

          Agreed 💙. The arts & crafts portion and non Osprey related chatter could be done via private email, iMessage, etc…being creative is great, I just think it’s better to leave this site to Mother Nature observations and discussions.

      • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:33 pm - Reply

        3-29-17 Really gracey you made same comments last year get new material. haaaa

    35. Linda Ardizzone March 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Hoping for George and Gracie’s safe return and a successful year!! Here in Colorado our resident female showed up yesterday and the male had already arrived and was mating with a newcomer. Once our female arrived that so far appears to be over (poor thing) but having them both back is a wonderful feeling. I hope that we all get to see George and Gracie again very soon. All the best this year!!

      • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm - Reply

        3-29-17 Reply- Linda A. welcome back for another year. Colorado what a beautiful place if you can take the cold.

    36. BillS March 26, 2017 at 7:00 am - Reply

      Hope they clean that spot off the lens before turning the cam back on! Just sayin’! 🙂

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Bills they tried several different things to do, to clean the lens and I am just saying 🙂
        Welcome back and thanks for posting a picture.
        Love Our Osprey Family and Followers

    37. Rjoneal March 25, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Waiting to see our G&G, here is Geo

      • CarolV March 27, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

        Thanks as always! Happy springtime! Dragging her feet here, but bit by bit, we’re making progress….

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:36 pm - Reply

          3-29-17 Reply- CarolV Yeah Verizon Vic is back glad you get to enjoy him.

      • CarolV April 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

        Majestic as always!

    38. Laura March 25, 2017 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      I saw an osprey fly into a nest today in Water Mill.

      • CarolV March 27, 2017 at 6:28 pm - Reply

        There;s one in the 105/24 nest in Flanders and Verizon Vic is back in Cutchogue

        • Helen March 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

          I saw him and his wife although I was there tonight and they apparently were hiding.

    39. Marilyn Giordano March 25, 2017 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Saw an osprey at Bayard Cutting Arboretum in East Islip yesterday, 3/24/17. Now I know it’s Spring!

      • CarolV March 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

        Love that place! Haven’t been there in years!

        • Marilyn G April 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

          They’ve fixed it up under the new director. Come take a house or attic tour (I give house tours) and eat in the cafe. The daffodils are blooming! And there are 3 osprey nests.

      • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 10:59 pm - Reply

        3-29-17 Reply – Laura and Marilyn, thanks for keeping us posted on your osprey sighting. Here is a pic G&G on 8-26-16 for you 🙂

    40. CarolV March 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      CAUTIONARY TALE::::: Of course, I can’t find the “saved” post but it was about an owl’s nestcam that was discontinued in part because of the hysteria of watchers about natural but upsetting incidents happening before their eyes. Most of us who have been watching this site know about the bad as well as the good that unfolds before our eyes. I encourage all posters, new and old, to refrain from reacting to each difficult circumstance immediately, but wait till the situation is resolved, reflect on it and then express your conclusions. If necessary, stop watching…Non-interference in the raising of these young is standard policy at most animal cams, except, as stated, when human actions are the cause of the problem.
      If possible, TOMMY could make the opening caution about the brutality of nature a little more prominent?

    41. Aidan March 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Hi all, just an update: we’re expecting to have the camera back up soon, probably at the beginning of April. Very sorry that we may be missing the first sighting, but rest assured we will have things up and running as soon as possible!

      • CarolV March 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm - Reply

        Thank you for update, Aidan,,,,Hope all is well with everyone. Good luck…

      • Sarah Lynn March 25, 2017 at 8:02 am - Reply

        Hurray! Looking forward to it very much. Thank you.

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:18 pm - Reply

          3-29-17 reply- Sarah Lynn Hurray now thats a good choice of a word to explain it. Glad you are with us again and we can not wait to see our G&G start another family. 🙂

      • Elizabeth March 25, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

        Thanks Aidan…looking forward for the return.

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:16 pm - Reply

          3-29-17 Reply- Elizabeth nice to know your back with us and we are all waiting anxiously.

      • Patty K March 25, 2017 at 12:32 pm - Reply

        Thank you Aidan and all at Osprey Zone; getting sooo excited about the return of our dear George and Gracie! Looking forward to another wonderful season! xoxo, Patty K.

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:14 pm - Reply

          3-29-17 Reply- Patty K. nice to have you back with us again. So many of our osprey followers are back now we just need our G&G and we will be all set. 🙂

      • JP(K) March 25, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

        No worries, if you can, let us know when they are back if they make it here before the camera is operational.
        Thanks again!

      • Rjoneal March 25, 2017 at 9:04 pm - Reply

        3-25-17 Reply -Aidan Thank You for the update and keeping your message on top until the Live Cam comes back on would help for everyone to see.
        🙁 Sad it is not on now but hopefully Paul and Tommy got some much needed down time if that is possible in their very busy lives.

        We miss you Paul and Tommy along with our Osprey Family and Followers. Now Just waiting on you so we can see our Osprey Family George and Gracie.

      • Sharon March 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm - Reply

        Thank you Aidan! 💕 Thank God I’ve had April the Giraffe live stream, waiting for her to give birth, to hold me over! lol Appreciate all of what you and the rest at Osprey Zone do!

        • CarolV March 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

          Hi! Just joined giraffe watch…saying she is showing signs…………..Also, a couple of eagle cams have hatching eggs, including D.C.’s Mr. & Mrs. President. Enough to keep me busy til we’re up and running! Although, I have some trouble with eaglet feeding–call me squeamish…
          Have been watching a few FL ospreycams …one-Achieva in St. Pete – just had a double chick mortality, which is of course, heartbreaking………….Time for our guys to get back and camera to roll soon-hopefully..

          • Kathy B. April 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm - Reply

            I think the giraffe cam is a crock! How can they be this off on timing of a birth? Sorry just my opinion. Do wish they would get the cam back on.

            • CarolV April 14, 2017 at 9:07 pm

              4/14- April still showing signs….I didn’t see any announcements yet…joining your viewpoint….

            • CarolV April 16, 2017 at 6:05 pm

              Guess April finally got down to business! Prob saw this picture somewhere so she had the baby next day, on the 15th!

        • LT March 29, 2017 at 4:36 pm - Reply

          HA! Same here, I check in on April frequently as well, but I do miss our George and Gracie, looking forward to their return…many thanks to our Osprey Zone team for this wonderful experience

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:12 pm - Reply

          3-29-17 Reply – Sharon welcome back and I know what you mean, I found myself watching the Pandas and every animal you can think of. I have ospreys all year round but it is not our George and Gracie Family. Brain overload with all new nature stuff I have been watching and reading.
          Love our Osprey Family and Followers!

          • Sharon April 6, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

            Thanks 😍 Both Osprey here in Westhampton Beach are back! They are only a block away from me and have been getting nesting material from my yard. Hearing them makes me miss George & Gracie even more!

      • Helen March 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm - Reply

        Thanks very much…can’t wait!

      • Leanne March 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the info. Can’t wait to see the family again 🙂

        • Rjoneal March 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm - Reply

          3/29-17 Hey Leanne, welcome back Osprey Sister we missed you. We are going to have another wonderful Season, can not wait, so many of us anxiously awaiting. 🙂

      • June c March 30, 2017 at 6:58 am - Reply

        Thanks for update…and Thank you for coming back..

        • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply

          4-7-17 Reply- June C I like that you mentioned to Aidan not only thank you, but thanks for coming back to be with us another year. I forgot to mention that.
          It wont be long now and soon we will be watching our Osprey Family.
          Osprey Hug

      • Lyn Dimon April 4, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

        Aiden – What the heck is going on with the live feed to the nest? It is now April 4-5th? Even the osprey at the intersection of Rt. 104 and Flanders Rd. are back, and starting a new season? Perhaps there are issues that we, as devoted viewers, aren’t aware of? that is stopping the viewing? Please communicate to us, as we are now impatiently awaiting the live feed and cannot understand what is stopping it.What EVER the cause of the delay, please be honest and let us know? Have G and G returned? I don’t want to drive over there to look for myself, as I’m pretty sure they are there.Please confirm and for goodness sake, communicate with us!

        • Aidan April 6, 2017 at 10:19 am - Reply

          Hi Lyn, to be clear, I’m not certain what the exact issue is, but Tommy told me it would be down until the beginning of April when we last spoke. It’s a downside of having the camera on private property, but it will be back up and running, hopefully very soon. I’m as anxious as you are and check the connection every day. I will try to get in contact with Tommy again and see if I can get an update.

          • Helen April 8, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

            Thank you Aiden – we would appreciate any updates you get.

          • PattyK April 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

            Hi Aidan, thank you, thank you,but think it’s time to hear from Tommy and Paul asap about what is happening with our Osprey Zone cam.Communication from them would help alleviate the wondering and frustration for all………xoxoxoxo

          • Mickey Martin April 20, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

            Legally, isnt it true that if there are eggs, and theres a cam issue, that the cam/nest cant be touched until everyone has fledged?

        • CarolV April 9, 2017 at 7:27 am - Reply

          Hi, Lyn- That nest looks wonky to me-rt. 24/105. Did it lose all the side branches? Just looks tall but smaller and a little lopsided….I know the Verizon nest in Cutchogue took a hard hit over the winter, but is slowly growing.

      • Rjoneal April 7, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

        4-7-17 Reply- Aidan THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US INFORMED with whatever info you have. 🙂
        THE MAJORITY OF US APPRECIATE ALL YOU DO ! Everyone is anxious but there is no need to be ugly or unkind. We are so sorry that you have to endure rudeness. We know if you could make the camera magically work you would but somethings are out of your control and we do understand. Please,please do not get discourage by some, most of us wanted to reach out to you and let you know we do care how people talk to you and stand by you. I have received several emails about that persons post and I told everyone I would post something to you from all of us.
        We Love Our Osprey Family and Followers

        • CarolV April 13, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

          Rjoneal- Thanks for posting that. As much as I, too, want our G family back on view, I’ve been concerned about pressuring a private cam owner who has his own concerns to deal with. I enjoy watching this site more than any of the others I’ve tuned in on and I think they are all funded and monitored by groups and outside funds. I would hate for our admins to grow tired of dealing with us.
          In the end, it’s Tommy and Paul’s choices and time involved and we are along for the beautiful ride……but just my opinion…..not a preaching moment { :+]]
          And hi to you, Rjoneal…

      • Judy April 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply

        Any news about G&G ? Hope we will be watching soon..

      • Deborah April 16, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

        Thank you for keeping us updated. Hopefully all is well Tommy. Eagerly anticipating the cameras being functional again so we can watch George and Gracie raise their new family. I am especially eager as I will be having major back surgery, rods, pins and part of my one fused so seeing this family would help keep me occupied.

        • Rjoneal April 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

          4-19-17 Reply- Deborah sorry to hear about your surgery and hopefully you will be able to recovery and watch George and Gracie start a new family. We are thinking about you and I know you will do just fine.

        • Rjoneal April 20, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

          4-20-17 Reply Deborah, nice to see your beautiful gravatar pic and name back with us for Season 3 2017

      • PattyK April 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm - Reply

        PLEASE connect with us xoxo. Just want to know, be reassured that this site is viable, that Tommy, Paul, you are AOK, it is very frustrating not to have communication, Thank you from all of us!

    42. Rjoneal March 24, 2017 at 11:55 am - Reply

      3-24-17 Rob B. has stated that the Osprey Belle has made it safely to Florida Yeah!

      • CarolV March 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

        Hi, Rjoneal….all nail-biting, and anxious………see Aidan just posted.

        • Rjoneal March 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm - Reply

          3-27-17 Reply- CarolV I did see Aidans post thanks for keeping me updated. I check the live cam at least 3-4x a day just in case. Helen asked for your email but I told her I did not have it. Tom &Audrey are back and new on Explore, and all the baby ospreys in all the nest we all have been watching are getting so big.

          I just want to see our George and Gracie my withdrawals have become incurable at this point nothing will work till I see them both safely back home.

    43. Helen March 24, 2017 at 9:34 am - Reply

      South Ferry Osprey is on his nest and has been back since 3/21/17. Good news! No one on the nests around me.

    44. Helen March 24, 2017 at 8:37 am - Reply

      Just wanted to let you know that an Osprey was spotted at South Ferry on Shelter Island yesterday. Am going to look myself this morning. I commented on this but don’t see the comment so am just repeating.

    45. Helen March 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      Am told that an Osprey has returned to Shelter Island and was seen hanging out at South Ferry.

    46. Michael G. Martin March 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Group
      Maya and 33, the Manton Bay Ospreys in The Rutland Osprey Project in the United Kingdom have returned to their nest a few days early. They didn’t waste anytime trying to start a Family.
      And could this be a sign that Gracie and George could possibly going to surprise us with an early Appearance any day Now.

      Michael G. Martin

    47. JANET FUNICELLI March 23, 2017 at 8:15 am - Reply

      The Osprey are returning! When will this cam be back live? Hopefully soon please! And needing to drop all the waaaaaaaaay down to comment is a pain!

    48. gracey March 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      WHEN ????? WE ARE ALL ANXIOUS….THANKS

    49. CarolV March 21, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      The latest from Rob B. and his osprey travelers http://www.ospreytrax.com/2017%20Spring.html#update
      This is turning in to a nail biter–3/21 and no video stream……..

      • Helen March 26, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

        Carol –
        Would you mind if I had your email? If not, please send it to hjr@elilaw.net. Thanks. BTW I stopped in at KK today – did not see Verizon Vic but was that you told them that he was.

        Helen

    50. margaretR March 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      When can we expect the camera to be up and running?

    51. Trinity March 21, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Once our beloved birds return and Osprey Zone is in full swing, it would be nice if we refrain from posting artsy pics and doodles. The first year was all about Osprey and not photoshopped pics. During the winter it was refreshing to see the creativity and it brought some laughter. Please don’t take offense, I just prefer this site as a nature lover, not arts and crafts. 💚

      • Rjoneal March 27, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

        Reply -Trinity you don’t have to read comments or look at the pictures if you want to just see the ospreys just watch the live cam no need to scroll down. This is why the live cam video is at the top of the page.

    52. Dawn March 21, 2017 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Opreys have been spotted on the fork! Hope G & G are back soon as well as our view! http://fireislandandbeyond.com/ospreys-are-back/

    53. JPK March 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Hey there… just wondering if there is a timeframe for the camera to go back online. Late March is around the time the Ospreys return, if I recall…

    54. rjoneal March 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      3-19-17 MEMORIES FROM 2015 GEORGE AND GRACIE WITH FAMILY

    55. CarolV March 17, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Remember the “bubble” that sometimes showed up in the G’s nest? The St. Pete-Achieva nest I watch has a rainbow dot that often gets in a shot, like a little guardian fairy. It made me think of the bubble, which made me think of Glenda the Good Witch in “Wizard of Oz”. Wasn’t that how she arrived @ OZ???? Maybe we were visited by pixie royalty??? (Teehee)

    56. rjoneal March 17, 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

      3-17-16 Soon the Family will be home.

    57. CarolV March 16, 2017 at 10:33 am - Reply

      16 March…………….newest post from Rob B @ ospreytrax.com about his birds

      Our second bird is on the move! Holly, an adult female from Annapolis, MD, on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, set off on her first migration north wearing one of our transmitters. Hers is a GSM, or cell-tower radio. We only hear from her when she’s about 15 miles or closer from a cell-tower. During her fall migration we lost track of her going through Cuba–we can’t do business with Cuban cell-tower companies, so this is a black hole for our birds–and then had a brief download as she passed over Hispaniola, then nothing until she got to the far eastern tip of Brazil in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Her winter range included an area where she was in reach of a tower and another where she wasn’t. So we got a signal from her about once a month. In the end of February she moved into range of a tower and we began to get fairly regular messages. On the 14th or 15th she began the trip north. We’re missing the data from her trip south, so we don’t know exactly how she arrived, but the trip north should take her along the northern tier of South American countries to the Paraguana Peninsula on the eastern side of the Gulf of Venezuela.

      Belle left the Rio Madeira on the 7th, 3 days later than her departure last year, but caught up a day by the time she across the Andes in Venezuela.

    58. CarolV March 15, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Rob B’s birds are on the move–

      http://ospreytrax.com/2017%20Spring.html

      The spring migration has begun! Belle was the first out of the gates, leaving the Rio Madeira on 7 Mar, 3 days later than last year. The yellow tracks are the previous 5 spring migrations. As far as I know, no North American Osprey has made this many migrations with an active transmitter. (A colleague recently recovered an Osprey that had been carrying a non-communicative radio for over 20 years!). She flew about 20 miles from Staddler, an adult male from New Hampshire.

    59. CarolV March 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      3/13/17 @12:30pm….Mom Nature keeping weather guessers on their toes as she shifts her buddy, Stella the storm. Now it looks like ONLY 8-12″ for the East End as opposed to the 18 and up still threatening the western 1/2. Supposed to come thru starting early a.m. tomorrow, as originally predicted, not the revised and reworked versions we’ve been hearing that it was starting today. Oh, almost forgot the lovely winds of up to 60mph gusts…rain/snow line south of us, so anything can happen……just hope we don’t lose power…..at least, I’m on vaca (I know, selfish-others still needing to travel,,,,,,)
      It will be interesting to see the nest after this….AND making for a nail-biter as we are on George wait. Come on, MOM,,,give us a break! Tommy in particular!
      Was checking on St. Pete nest last night and they were swaying in the wind, making me woozy……..on pip watch for that nest.
      Everyone, HAGD!

      • CarolV March 15, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

        Happy to say–WE had mostly rain!!!! Winds were still hard and gusty and very icy frozen mess last night, but no shoveling!

    60. CarolV March 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      WORM MOON-3/11/2016 @7pm……church down the street from me…………..22degs. dropping to 15 around sunrise with wind chill in sing digits.

      • CarolV March 11, 2017 at 10:33 pm - Reply

        Now a blizzard with winds to 40 mph and snow to 12″ plus predicted for Mon or Tues. coming ;.>{{

        • CarolV March 11, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

          Robins will be storming the bait shop demanding WORMS!

      • rjoneal March 13, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

        3-13-17 Reply- CarolV thanks for posting a pic and giving us weather updates, BURRRRR ! A picture is so much better than just the info. Snow looks beautiful.

    61. CarolV March 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      4/9/16- Birthday celebration last year @ the nest-my b’day, that is…..one of my first shots

      • rjoneal March 13, 2017 at 11:13 am - Reply

        3-13-17 Reply- CarolV I remember this I have several too but now I know its your Birthday on 4-9-17 haaa. 🙂

        • Helen March 23, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

          4/9 is my birthday too!

    62. CarolV March 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Morning…..snowing on LI……..more predicted mid-week; subject to change at any moment, as this storm’s predictions every few hours. Hope anything planned for nest can go ahead. Positive thoughts being sent out. Please join in if ur not beaming them nestward already!

      • CarolV March 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

        March 12th Full Worm Moon 10:54 am …….. referring to evidence of earthworms and return of robins
        many aliases—aka…… Full Crow Moon
        ……………………………….Full Crust Moon……………….freezing and thawing made crust on snow
        ……………………………….Full Sap Moon
        ……………………………….Lenten Moon……………………last moon of winter

        DON’T FORGET……….SPRING AHEAD TO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ON SUNDAY MORNING!!!!!!!
        HAGD everyone!

      • CarolV March 11, 2017 at 11:45 pm - Reply

        Now the predic is for blizzard-12-18″, winds 40-50mph! Sometimes they just like to scare us…………..I’m om vaca …no beach for ME!

        • CarolV March 11, 2017 at 11:51 pm - Reply

          Posted wrong place-oopsie…was talking about storm predicted for Mon or Tues, 3/13-3/14—in case any confusion.

    63. rjoneal March 9, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

      3-9-17 look who visited the Eagles Nest today

      • CarolV March 13, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

        hi! Very majestic, almost solemn looking! Thanks for the pics. Was watching nest cam for osprey in St. Pete’s last night. Looked pretty windy there. Weather all up the east coast! HAGD!

    64. Helen March 9, 2017 at 9:34 am - Reply

      I don’t believe it – the chicks in Ft. Myers are only a few days old and the older is already beating up on the younger.

    65. rjoneal March 7, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      3-7-17 G&G first egg from last Season.

    66. rjoneal March 5, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      3-5-17 Its all about Gracie today

      • Helen March 9, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

        Absolutely gorgeous!

        • rjoneal March 13, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

          3-13-17 Reply Helen thanks except the fact I forgot the word (way) somehow I missed it before posting. Oh well like you said Gracie is beautiful!

    67. CarolV March 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      I’m having freezing issues(computer is) and started to post about this before, so if this pops up twice-sorry!
      Have been watching a NATURE series on PBS. You can see them @pbs.org/nature , I believe, but was unable to copy&paste a link.It’s “Spy in the Wild” , about these incredible pseudo-animals made with cameras embedded, which are used to get incredible close-up videos. Ep.5 is about the technology behind it, if you want to start there…….Ingenious artistry…

      There is also a program on Animal Planet, The Zoo, about the Bronx Zoo(and its affiliates) and its work in conservation, as well as behind the scenes happenings in day-to-day zoo care.
      The first week introduced me to the malleefowl, a strange and unique bird that spends enormous energy preparing an incubation nest but the chicks get no parental care. I recommend this program too if you have the time. I doubt that there is a webcam, judging by the description of its habits, but here are a couple of links, if you want to check them out. Hope these work- issues with my buddy, the computer- { :[

      http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheMalleefowl.htm
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleefowl

      • CarolV March 4, 2017 at 9:13 pm - Reply

        yup- there’s what I was trying to post before- when all froze—

    68. Carol V March 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Highly recommend Spy in the Wild on Nature series on pbs. Attempting to put link here, otherwise I think you can watch at PBS.org. Intricate spycams are produced just to get upclose and personal with a variety of animals. Episode 5 is a making-of explanation.If you have a bit of free time….enjoy
      Not letting me copy&paste- I’m sure I’m missing something

    69. Carol V March 4, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Word from Rob B / ospreytrax.com

      1 hr ·
      The Ospreys are coming! The Ft. Smallwood, MD, hawkwatch, which counts a lot each spring, has already seen one and there are a couple of sightings up in Mass. Belle started north last year on 4 March. She checks in tomorrow. I’ll be we see her on the move.

    70. CarolV March 4, 2017 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Happy March to all- on pins&needles waiting for return of video———————anxious to get back to OZ business…..

      HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    71. Rob Bierregaard March 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Paul,
      Alan Poole is writing a new book on Ospreys and is looking for a good picture of a nest cam set-up. Is there on available for the Ospreyzone nest?

      Rob

    72. rjoneal March 3, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

      3-3-17 Reply- Emily I sent a video to all Osprey Zone Followers emails I had of the osprey in my backyard and they enjoyed it but noticed I do not have your email. If you want to email me my email is under my Gravatar pic of Gracie. Just saying 🙂

    73. rjoneal March 3, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

      3-3-17 As we await our Osprey Family to come home and the Live Cam to get turned back on here is some info on migrating birds from Audubon –

      Science
      Researchers Identify the Hormone That Tells Migratory Birds to Stop Eating and Keep Moving
      According to a new study, the same hormone that signals to humans we’ve eaten our fill triggers migrating birds to continue their trek.
      By Jason G. Goldman
      February 17, 2017

      Just off the western coast of Italy sits a five-mile-long island called Ponza, which is all that remains of the caldera rim of an extinct volcano. Today, it’s an important re-fueling station for migratory songbirds, as it’s often the first stop they can make as they return to Europe after wintering in Africa. Arriving at Ponza after a non-stop flight over the Mediterranean, the birds show up ready to eat. But after gorging themselves and before taking off again, the birds engage in a frantic, curious behavior common to many migratory species and known to ornithologists by the German word zugunruhe.
      “They behave in a funny way,” says Leonida Fusani, a biologist at the University of Vienna. “They flutter their wings and make little jumps. You can tell this behavior from any other type of nocturnal activity.”
      Fusani studies the biological and environmental factors that drive billions of birds to migrate from their breeding grounds to their overwintering ranges in the tropics and back once again. Like other researchers, he’s long known that birds must fuel up before their long flights by packing on the pounds. But no one was sure how they knew when they had eaten enough to safely take off again. Research performed on poultry about a decade ago provided a clue: The hormone ghrelin, which signals to humans and other mammals that it’s time to stop eating, plays a similar role in chickens and quail.
      Fusani knew that migrating birds exhibit signs of zugunruhe after they’ve stored up enough fat from their diet—or, in other words, when they’re full. So he suspected that ghrelin might also be involved in their migration, perhaps signaling when it’s time to keep moving. To test his idea, he captured Garden Warblers, small brown songbirds that actually prefer woodlands to gardens, when they arrived to rest near the ornithology research station on Ponza. A quick blood test showed that the birds with more body fat had higher levels of ghrelin in their bloodstreams compared to their leaner counterparts. That supported a clear link between hormone levels and the birds’ physical condition.
      But Fusani still needed to see if ghrelin itself was implicated in zugunruhe; after all, there are many hormones involved in regulating foraging and migratory behaviors. So in a second study, he and his colleagues captured birds on the island and kept them in fabric-lined cages for one night to monitor their behavior. Some of the warblers were injected with ghrelin, while others were injected with a saline solution as a control.
      Those birds whose ghrelin levels had been artificially boosted ate less, and also displayed the migratory restlessness that defines zugunruhe—clear-cut evidence that the hormone is tied to both appetite and migration. The study was published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
      “We think of migration as this spectacular, long flight through air, but most of the biology of migration is at these stopover sites,” says biologist Emily Cohen of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, who was not involved in the study. “This is really strong evidence” that ghrelin is the physiological link between appetite and migration, she says.
      The potential implications of this research extend beyond just better understanding how birds migrate. Migratory songbirds rapidly gain and then lose some 50 percent of their body mass in fat as they prepare for and recover from migrations. Thanks to the similarities in the physiology that underlies appetite regulation in mammals and birds, Fusani thinks that these birds might ultimately prove useful as model organisms for the study of obesity and other metabolic disorders in humans. Which might make you look at the birds stuffing their bills at your backyard feeder in a whole new light.

    74. Helen March 1, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Both babies born in Ft. Myers.

    75. rjoneal February 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      2-27-16 Well now Pink Shell has 2 baby ospreys they are so tiny. Come home George and Gracie !

      • Helen March 1, 2017 at 11:09 am - Reply

        Sorry – I did not see that you already posted about the 2 in Ft. Myers.

        • rjoneal March 4, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

          3-4-17 Reply- Helen No need for sorry it is about spreading the love of Ospreys and we cant get enough of them. 🙂

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