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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
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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
2:25pm (approx.) Fish #6. I’ve been watching about 2 weeks, this may be a banner day.
I think a little sparrow is trying to help take some twigs from the nest while the ospreys are feeding and not knowing about the sparrow. Not much room to turn around in the nest.
Feeding #5 today (about 1:45pm), basically 1/2 a bunker. Kids barely moved, both of them have to be full from the 4 prior feedings. After about a half hour the ‘lil guy had a few bites. Fishing is good today!
It’s like an episode of “HORDERS” ! The nest……… lol
Ha ha ha that is so funny!
HA HA ! :))))))))) You are so right. It is a disgusting mess. I don’t know what the area is around the nest but maybe this is the best to be found for them.
George came by a while ago with another fish. The chicks did not even turn around and Gracie didn’t seem interested either. So George said “OK more for me” and took off with the fish. It was a nice large one.
I agree with the comment on the messy nest. The nest needs serious housecleaning. Instead of Gracie fussing all the time, she could be cleaning out the nest and make it more organized and roomy, since the kids are growing.
Obviously Grace and George are Yankee Osprey. Southern Osprey are cleaner and more attentive.
Wow! Another fish (#4 I think) at 12:20 nest time.
I can’t believe how big the chicks have grown in the past week.
Thank you, Gina M. for the BBC videos! Osprey are TRULY amazing!! And, yes, George deserves appreciation today for his outstanding meals!
This nest is a mess…….Sanford and son is correct. Now one of the chicks in chewing on something and it’s not a fish. Hope it’s not plastic. wow…..Gracie needs to clean house big time. Getting dangerous!
Another fish at 9:50!! I noticed that Gracie will not start serving up the food until George leaves the nest. I wonder why?
Great video for the unsung hero George
I see the babies getting closer and closer to the edge of the nest and they seem to be looking over the edge. Is there a chance they could call out of the nest? What would happen if they fall … can they automatically fly? Just curious. Thank you!
No, they can’t fly until all of their feathers have developed and they’ve had time to strengthen their wings by flapping.
They instinctively know not to go over the edge but that doesn’t rule out an accident.
It would be helpful if George and Gracie would build up the sides instead of filling in the center with trash. Maybe there aren’t many available branches so they’re using whatever they can find.
That’s a bungee cord…on the left
I vote to make today, July 8th –
GEORGE APPRECIATION DAY 🙂
Looks like George needs to take a tip or two from these Osprey! The first guy in the video caught more in one plunge than poor George does all day!
Gina, thanks for the video. They are amazing creatures.
George is stepping up his game. The more fish brought to the nest the less the bullying of the younger sibling
wow, Gina thanks for posting this amazing video!
Thank you Gina! The skill and energy involved in catching a fish is so amazing to me! As a new parent I think George is an exceptional fisher osprey! He may need to start eating a bit more to keep up his own strength. The male osprey tends to look a bit emaciated by the end of the season.
Looking at the nest and thinking they should put a bigger push on banning plastic bags.
This nest is starting to look like the garbage dump ! Lots of plastic and who knows what.
I agree! what a mess in that nest
Hawaii is the first sate to ban plastic at grocery stores. I am all for using recycled material as grocery bags.
GOOD MORNING Raptor LOVER’S 😉 Quick question. Do we have raptor names yet?? I watch every day and appreciate this educational raptor site! Thanks!!
Another fish at 6:38am…that’s two this morning!!!
George was out early this morn! Glad to see fish delivery before I head out to work. Keep up the good work!
A feeding early this morning 5:15am. #1 got the first shift, but no fighting, until #2 just sort of gave #1 a pretty aggressive short peck to say “my turn”. Amazingly #1 complied and moved away. Everyone got to eat plenty. Good start to the day!
Early breakfast this morning. Gigi ate first while Izzy waited patiently for her turn. So far both babies have eaten without incident. Let’s hope this trend continues!!! 🙂
George is on his game this morning!! 5:06 am breakfast is served! Way to go George! ♥
I just checked in to see if Gracie had returned to the nest. I scrolled back and did see her sitting on the left hand side of the nest. She is gone again but I don’t think she’s gone far. Maybe she’s on the perch or nearby keeping watch with George? I’m just glad she came back to check on the little ones who are just beginning to peep. Hopefully the wind dies down, Gracie returns refreshed and George delivers a wonderful breakfast that all can enjoy, Drama free!! 🙂
Gracie must be on the perch as I just heard her talking. Babies are giving the occasional peep and George should be arriving shortly with breakfast for his family. Glad I heard Gracie chattering as I was seriously beginning to worry about her. Hope our Osprey family has a great day with loads of fish, naps and NO drama at feeding time 🙂
just checked in on the family, i know i cant see anything its about 3:00 a.m. EST, but thought i would see if wind died down. It still sounds windy though not as bad as before. But the MOON is beautiful shining on the water in the background. It illuminates the nest just a bit. Hoping the little Osprey family is doing well and that tomorrow (today for most everyone seeing this) is a better day for the Ospreys.
I have to admit that this site can sometimes be frustrating. Although I understand that you have other responsibilities, I just wish that once in a while some of our questions would be answered. Sorry, I just had to mention that.
I wonder if Gracie is older that George? It could explain why he doesn’t bring enough food.
We don’t really know how old either of them are.
Thanks for replying to my question.
I’m concerned as Gracie took off almost an hour ago I think and now it’s dark and I can’t tell if she returned. I don’t think I have seen her disappear for so long
prior to tonight. Also, while feeding she seemed very rushed. Maybe she had a hot date? Hope they are all ok in the AM.
Where is Gracie? I havent seen her in the nest in a long time.
About 6:00p…George brought in another fish for supper. Both chicks ate good. Of course the oldest had to be a little nasty.
Second one just waited her/his turn. They had started eating at the same time than a little bonking.
With the other osprey couple I watch at work, the male takes the fish to his post and eats his share. There’s a small field between the post and the nest. The female is yelling the whole time! George’s perch may be too close for this luxury!
Maybe a bike lock? Is the rest of the bike down below?
Leanne…I see what you’re talking about! It does look like some kind of tie down with a metallic glint! Maybe she just needed a bit of bling !
I’m not sure what it is at all. I saw her bring it up and I didnt think much of it until she dropped it on $2 and I realized that it was definitely something pretty solid. As she was moving it to the edge, I noticed that it had what appeared to be a screw attached to it. The things these birds find!! 🙂
Ha! The nest is starting to look like Sanford and Son!
I had the same thought last night!
It’s become my new after work relaxation to sit and scroll back on the video and to go back through the comments. I saw the 6ish feeding and things appeared to start well then the rivalry started up again. At least the second chick has learned to back down somewhat and Gracie even coaxed the aggressor to backoff with a beckfull. It sounds like things were somewhat similar throughout the day. There seems to have been more fish brought in today too. Gracie was tearing away like a maniac to keep up with these two! Really enjoying this development! And I’ve realized this is not the same as watching “Nature” or the Discovery channel. This is far more personal! I can’t wait to hear what names are chosen, tho I probably won’t know who’s who!
Yeah, I thought that might be a dumb question but I had to ask… Guess I watch too many dinosaur / pterodactyl documentaries.. The name raptor ( birds of prey ) and when the babies were using their long wings kinda like crutches reminded me of the prehistoric birds. ps.. thank you. Now I know for sure but I do feel kinda dumb for asking…
7/7/15 7:54 and I counted five fish total for the day they just finished the last and I guess it was only half of fish. I missed the part when he brought it in but watch them as they ate it A little bit Rough housing but not too much I agree I think Gracie is losing her voice she is constantly trying to get George attention and teach him what he needs to be doing. Not bad five for the day yeah George hopefully he’ll keep it coming
Here’s looking for a bright future for tomorrow
Another fish was just delivered. Babies are eating without any fighting. 🙂
Half a fish is better than no fish. Poor Rachel couldn’t grab it fast enough. At least they’ll be fed for the night.
I know you meant to say ‘Gracie. Rachel is the female at the Hog Island next.
Sounds like mom is losing her voice.
I thought that too.
Didn’t get the rain today that “they” said we were going to get. Maybe overnight?
Did Gracie just bring a pipe clamp (?) up into the nest? It’s on the right hand side and near the very edge.
Yeah, it’s a hose clamp. Good eye!
6:00 pm 7/7/15 George brought home dinner and is soon as the babies started fighting I had to stop watching. can someone please tell me if the little guy got his share of food or not and if he got injured or not? I can’t Watch the feedings when the One games up on the other one. Tks
Both babies ate very well and with very little fighting. 🙂
Rjoneal, yes the little one got fed. Had a full crop when done….. 🙂
Dinner with minimal fighting. #1, Gigi, was the first to get her fill as #2 slowly inched her way closer to Gracie and eventually got her share. It seemed to me that Gracie was rushing more than usual to get them fed. I think, maybe because it’s so windy and it will be dark soon, that she wants to get them fed and put to bed. Hopefully in the center of the nest where she might be able to give them a little shelter. I just hope they have a good night and that the wind dies down. 🙂
6:00 pm 7/7/15 well we had a good day three fish so far no dinner it’s making my stomach hurt
I know now if George does bring the fish the two babies will fight for it they are so hungry and so is mom Come on George you were doing so good if you can just keep up the dinner time feeding you would have this down pat I’m rooting for you George you can do it you can do it
There are a few things I’m surprised about. The parents are so protective of their young from other predators, however they don’t protect them from each other at all. Also I’m surprised that they need to learn how to fish and yet flying to South America is already hardwired into them. Idk it’s just bizarre to me.
Does anyone know how old George and Gracie are? I wonder if George is much younger than Gracie and doesn’t understand the concept of feeding his chicks more than a couple times a day?
Jeanne 7/7/15 5:20pm it wasn’t only ones several times a little sparrow and birds went right in the nest while mom and dad and babies were there bird would grab pieces of The nest and fly away with it and then come back and get more it’s so funny. They say it’s why Sparrows make their nest under the ospreys nest because they have everything they need It is the cutest to watch though the ospreys just watch them walk on by And flutter around it doesn’t bother them in the least
Where’s dinner everyone is hungry ! George tends to do well morning and afternoon but come dinner time he slacks off Maybe because he doesn’t get enough to eat I didn’t eat much at all today
Just stopped in for a minute and Mom sure sounds like she’s upset about something….Is she waiting for dinner or hasn’t she had her lunch? I can’t get over how “crowded” the nest is, full of stuff….Do have a question…..How old are the young ones when they fledge and will they come back to the nest or just take off?
They should start flying in a month, and they will stay until September as they learn to fish.
Who else saw the brave little house finch in the nest this morning? Crazy bird!
Sorry meant house sparrow
I did Jeanne. They do that in alot of bigger nests. Not the first time I’ve seen it. He/she was actually taking material out of the big nest for their nest I presume.
Hello!! This is the first I log on and I see only one comment! I guess everyone is either at work or on vacation. 🙂
Welcome, 7/7/15 4:30 pm Monica before you hit post comment make sure you click the two options to be notified of f/u comments by email and new post by email also if you look at the bottom of the comments you will see it says previous and then there’s a whole bunch of numbers you can go to previous post Sometimes it can take a while for your post to be moderated so some of us have suggested to put the time and date when you make a post
This may be a dumb question but I’m asking anyway. Mom does all the ripping and tearing with her beak and that is what it’s for ( the long hook ) but I watched her try to eat a large piece of fish. She had a hard time with it and ended up having to hold it with her talons…..the question….. do they have teeth too?
No. Ospreys do not have teeth.
No, birds do not have teeth…..lol
Birds do not have teeth.
Another feeding around 1:30ish. Little guy got fed a bunch, while #1, let him take the lead. Finally, #2, full and #1 went in for plenty of food. That’s 3 feedings today and no fights. Lots of food = no fights! One more fish today would be nice.
1:58 tuned in middle of feeding time. been watching about 5 minutes… only one chick being fed but the other may have eaten first… so far it’s peaceful
Happy to view “lunch” today July 7th @ 1:45PM Seems that the smaller one is totally getting his fill with no problems with larger one. larger one seems happy with a few tidbits, then enjoys strutting around nest, flapping his wings. Hopefully, everyone is content.
Love George! He is either so selfless that he wants his family to eat before he does, or…he just doesn’t particularly care for fish head! It is unusual for Gracie to feed George, but I think she just doesn’t want to relinquish control of the fish! They are a treat!
Looks like the kids are starting to say “give us the fish, we’ll take of it”. Both tried taking the fish dad just brought in.
Lunch is served!
!:30 and George has brought yet another fish! Go George!! : )
The nest and the scenery at this cam in Scotland are beautiful. There are 3 chicks who have already been banded and 2 have also had transmitters attached.
The female is new this year because, sadly, the original female known as Lady did not return – she would have turned 30 this year. Amazingly, she had nested at this spot for 24 years and fledged 50 chicks! She had 4 different male partners over that time.
That is really awesome about Lady! Thank you for sharing a bit about her!
The chicks in that nest look like they’re in a love fest compared to G & G’s kids! O :
Yikes! A third big bird was being chased off by parents, could not tell if another osprey or eagle. So fast! Parents are on alert, both gone, then came back fast with other bird flying about, then one left (to give chase?). Other calling. Hope all stay safe.
step away from the edge!!
Two fish this morning, no fighting when second fish came in. In fact I’m not sure #1 (the aggressor) had anything to eat, as he was full from earlier feeding. So #2 got fed plenty and finally was full with half a fish left. As long as the fish keep coming, I think the fighting may have stopped.
Yes, as long as the fish deliveries come before they become ravenous I think they’ll be able to coexist.
Just caught up to the last couple of days’ comments. The younger of the two looks as if he/she is hurting or fighting off infection from pecks breaking the skin. Like PeeWee it has to hurt. Been looking in now and then in past days and really notice the size difference and behavior of both. Hope both make it. This year seems to have been so harsh in so many ways for many nests.
8:58…..sparrow is in big nest stealing nesting material.
I saw that too. Obviously was taking advantage of the fact that George and Gracie were busy having breakfast on the opposite side of the nest. 🙂
It just tickles me how Gracie will feed George so she can keep control of the food source. Lets hope George can keep the fish coming in.
Really dislike when the chicks fight. Good job George on the fish and it wasn’t flopping around on the nest this time…..!!!! 🙂
I cannot believe how fast they are growing now
With each feeding poor Rachel not only has to feed her 2 chicks, but George too!
Cute initially, but really George!
Rose…..I don’t think Gracie has to feed George, but that she wants control of the fish. Therefore she will feed George instead of giving up
the fish…. She’s is a very slow feeder to both babies and George….. 🙂 Lol
George still not taking head for himself. Has a lot to learn or is this the dynamics of this couple? From the few feedings I’ve been able to watch, Gracie was still feeding him. How unusual is this?
Poor Gracie looks exhausted and is always calling for George to bring food. I wonder if birds realize their partner is not suited to the task.
Wow. A second fish already this morning. WTG, George!!
7/7/15 8:45am Leann I missed the second feeding did both babies get enough food ? Was there any fighting ?
Way to go George forget the second fish here’s hoping he’ll bring lunch on time
Both babies got plenty with no fighting. The chicks fell asleep and George and Gracie enjoyed a quiet breakfast, together, on the side of the nest. 🙂
For Akboater…..I did not see the baby removed. I did see the body in the center of the nest until it was covered by nesting materials.
I was glad to see George back on the job and off to an early start this a.m.
Thank you Carol.
The osprey cam of the Chesapeake Conservancy shows a nest in which the fostered babies are both nearly the same size in an area where fish appear to be more plentiful. The eggs from this pair did not hatch and two chicks were removed from another nest with more than could be fed (fairly long story). Once the adopted chicks were settled in, the site has been pretty peaceful, it seems to me, and some viewers might enjoy it.
Definitely looks like rain today.
Maybe it will wash the cam cover off. lol
Finally a nice big fish! Bully baby is letting his sibling have some. Mama is really trying to get some to them both and save a little for herself. Hope that the fishing is better today.
I’ll ask again. Is the little one still at the bottom of the nest?
yes……. covered over…..
as far as i can see it is
Yes the baby is part of the nest
Ackboater – the chick is under that black piece of material (plastic?).
R/e to my earlier comments Rjoneal I think it posted at 9:00pm 7/6/15 I referred to one the babies as a bully only to differentiate between the 2 siblings. Don’t hate on me I know it’s his instinct and nature to do what he is doing. Only the strong will survive and this family sure has to be strong with everything they r facing. FYI – the osprey family in Montana is eduring record heat of over 100 degrees the past week. Fish is plentiful and they are big.
The beautiful Osprey couple that I follow in Missoula, Montana had their three eggs broken in a powerful hail storm just a week before they were to hatch. The other couple I follow in Maine had their 3 weeks old chicks stolen by eagles, 45 minutes apart.,
Coleen…so sad about the eggs! Try watching a cam near me The Chesapeake Conservancy has a cam w/two osprey whose eggs didn’t hatch, so two foster chicks were placed with them from an overcrowded nest…..All are doing well and it is a beautiful area; nest is in the Chesapeake Bay….also The Nature Conservancy in Alabama has three now fledglings, also a great cam.
I have been watching an Osprey Cam in NJ for several years now. The site is thefriendsofislandbeach.org.
It is a well established nest. There are three babies a good size bigger than these chicks. And their color is different too; I guess because they’re older.
I thought I’d share in case you’d like to see them.
There are no comments or highlights on that cam, but it is nice to see a large, established nest with 3 chicks. Also, you can see it at night.
Thank you for sharing this cam.