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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
Changing of the Guard
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Hard to Get
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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
Fountain of Chick #2
Did that hit George in the head or is it just angle of picture? Looks pretty darn funny!
CarolV: Angle!! 😀
Can’t believe how fast these chicks growing. Could it be because there are only two to feed this year? Yes I think we are all concerned about that ribbon, wish it would blow away.Still watching every day but don’t post often as I haven’t a clue about technology, this is my limit. So enjoy all the great pictures and comments.
OMG that is the cutest thing I have ever seen on this nest. Gracie passing chunks to George and him feeding the chicks! So Precious! After the tragedy at Hellgate it is a joy to see this couple working their magic. I have watched since Pee Wee and I just love these two.
6-20-17 Poor Iris, I posted a picture on Osprey Zone showing the difference of the nests a while back and Iris is buried in snow laying and incubating her eggs. Very sad since she is a very old bird and losing her mate Stanley seems to have really brought her nothing but bad luck.
Anyways Gracie feed George in 2015 during the ration of fish due to fish kill but I do not think anyone witnessed her doing it last year. I think it was wonderful shows how bonded Gracie and George are. However if she had 3 babies I do not think she would have done it. I think having 2 babies is magical number better than just 1 but not to many with 2. Gracie sure seems to be more content and not as tired and worn out as she is with 3 babies.
They are growing fast and so entertaining.
So glad you are still with us and have been since the beginning, thanks for posting.
Love Our Osprey Family and Followers
Reply – Kathy Bartell correction there are some photos and JuneC reminded me that Gracie does feed George last season for some reason I don’t remember seeing it but it happened.
2:03pm 6/19…….George is feeding Gracie who is then feeding the chicks.
6/19/17 at 1:05 pm….that was a great feeding. It started at 1:05 pm and is still going on at 1:55pm. Both chicks have been fed till they wanted no more. The egg is still there.
Have not viewed the nest in a few days, wow, what a difference a few days makes. They have really grown and I am so glad. A few worries with fish and stick bashing, but see little ones rearranging nest twigs now and then – so cute. Darn plastic! My neighbors just make comments about me as I run around the property with a large trash bag picking up every-ones wind blown trash. Trash days/nights are the worse because of unsecured lids that crows, raccoons and the wind pick up then stuff just tumbles out and blows everywhere. We are surrounded by a really bendy creek that flows right into the Chesapeake Bay. ALL of our wildlife is at risk and it looks nasty too. Nothing like have handy dandy little and big bags stuffed in pockets to just pick it up and take it home to properly dispose of people. Sorry for the high horse, but it just gulls me to see trash on our lands and in our waters too.
Do want to thank everyone for the nice pictures and comments – wish all well. I just rely upon them so often to ‘catch up’ with the nest.
thank you for picking up trash! this is by far the “trashiest” nest I’ve seen. You would think the plastic cup would drive them crazy. and the ribbon…..
Thank you for your efforts!
And Gracie usually surrounds herself with flappy black plastic…as I’m sure you know! This looks like the “Good Housekeeping” version….
Chick #1 is 2 weeks old today
Caught a feeding about 0:501 hrs and was amazed at the size of the chunks of fish that the Chicks can handle. Gracie is great at Portion Control and it goes without saying a “Great Mom”
Check and double check!!! Marvel at how she increases piece size as they grow…
George brought a nice fish for lunch
I agree with that! Sometimes that’s what they look like!
LOL!! Sometimes I feel sorry for the fish since they’re always alive. 🙁
Oh well, that’s life.
I guess that third egg won’t hatch – which is a good thing!!
@4:46pm—-George brings in a juicy whole fish. Gracie didn’t even take the time to clean the face off. She started handing over pieces as soon as she could.
Gracie is constantly picking at her feathers – far more often than normal preening. I’m concerned that she has a serious case of feather mites. Anyone else make the same observation?
It does seem she is scratching and picking a lot. I think I mentioned previously how fleas have been an issue around here with many people I’ve spoken with. Perhaps whatever conditions that have caused a flea explosion may have caused an increase of whatever mites live in the nest….
Did you see that, George? The WHOLE thing!
George brought in a nice big fish…………..one chick was front and center, almost under the fish when Gracie took it”’
the other woke up and stumbled and toddled his way over….
Space is limited…………….and someone is CHEATING!
Fish has arrived
Keeps telling me duplicate comment but I’m not seeing it on my “waiting moderation” posts….unless we’re turning pages…tring again, slightly diff
Yep—-turning pages…—-anyhow,sorry for doubles.
Gracie dumps chicks in her hurry to get up
Pesky crow follows George in
Gracie fed chicks; George took fish and brought it back about 9. Chicks got fed again. Then George came back to feed Gracie.
BTW this year there is a noticeable increase in the number and sheer physical size of the crows in the neighborhood
Are they massing for “The Birds”?
Fish is in!
About 7 a.m., George brought in a stick, with Mr.Crow right behind him…looked like he even pecked at him….giving George the appearance of hair extentions…
Hey!!!!!!! Watch it!
George makes his early morning stop-in to say Hi!
George is coming in being harassed by what looks like a crow
crow wasted its time…George delivers grasses/seaweed
then turns in defense………….
An intruder must have followed him, too. Here he is chasing Pesky away……Double drama!
I have noticed that crow(I guess) flitting around lately. Must be looking for leftovers.
There were brief showers after this..may be a couple more this a.m. The temps are high 60s, hovering right around 70-71 thru the day.
which will be cloudy.
Looking forward to pics loading in, as I missed yesterday completely.
Hope everyone has a good Sunday….and HAPPY FATHERS” DAY to all (where it applies)………and to GEORGE!
For the past several days, crows have been aggressively and relentlessly attacking George or Gracie when they were up on the perch and even doing the occasional hit on George or Gracie while they were on the nest. This morning Gracie got attacked on the nest. At a nest on the Chesapeake Bay there was a crow attack on the nest in May which destroyed two of the eggs and a second attack the next day which most likely left the third egg nonviable. I hope the crows don’t drive off George and Gracie and attack the chicks.
George getting attacked after he landed on the nest
More pictures of the crow attack on Gracie
Another picture … it was pretty brutal
The crow got a real good peck in at poor George
Okay, crow … time to go away!!
George with baby 1 and 2 what a good dad keeping his eye on them.
To All the Dads or Fathers this is for you!
As I correctly stated in my post on June 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm, the egg was buried. It did surface shortly after that, however, and throughout the day it surfaced, was buried, surfaced, etc.
I noticed several days ago G & G were spending more time standing around the nest, and wondered if they knew that this egg was not going to hatch and have been treating it as such.
No need for any replies, enough has been said on this matter. I don’t post very often and would like to feel that when I do any replies are of a friendly nature. This is a friendly site, so let’s keep it that way. Goodby.
Just wanted to say I saw it going under again yesterday…and it’s out again! That eggbert is taking on a life of its own!
Dear NJD, Very little doubt that G&G know the third egg is done and are treating it as such. Surprised they haven’t removed it but maybe that’s their way and just ignore it. Two successful young I believe is about average and just hope food remains plentiful and the young successfully fledge. Yours truly, Bob
I felt bad for chick #2 whose leg was caught in the ribbon — it struggle to reach Gracie to get fed. As far as I can tell, as of 1:25 pm, it was still tangled in the ribbon!
Hey, Rjoneal, maybe we should have a guess “which chick will be tangled in the ribbon and get flung out of the nest first” contest since the ribbon has been an issue for days now, tangling around George or Gracie and the chicks, especially on June 15th when the ribbon was folded in the chick’s wing and the chick was actually lifted up when Gracie flew off with the ribbon twisted around her legs.
I meant to type that it is chick #1 that is caught in the ribbon! I am very upset about the ribbon situation and the potential for disaster. Apparently Leanne and I are the only people concerned. Sad.
Nope. You two ladies are not the only ones who are very concerned about the kids and that ribbon………… Just because a lot of us do not mention things does not mean we do not care about this nest.
6-20-17 Reply-Karen Delong 100%Agree with you on this.
There’s no need to cause a panic when nothing can be done at this point human intervention is not recommended. By going up into the nest before the babies are able to fly could endanger them more unless a true rescue is needed.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t all sitting on pins and needles and having heart attacks every time that ribbon gets caught on one of the babies or George or Gracie it bothers us greatly but we can only hope they free themselves. Once again this is part of watching a nature live camera.
Thanks for posting your opinion take care talk to you later Osprey hugs!
Please don’t assume that the lack of comments about the ribbon represents a lack of concern.
6-20-17 Reply-Trinity well spoken. 😃
6-17-17 Have not been on site till just now noticed on rewind it looks like Gracie might have an injury under wing take a look for yourself. Not sure but does appear to be an injury but she is acting fine and when she goes in the saltwater it will clean it so it wont get infected. Do not worry if you see these pictures not meant to upset anyone just an observation. These are tough birds and will be ok as long as it does not get infected.
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads who follow George and Gracie and their lil crew.
A special Happy Fathers Day to George!!
Looks like both chicks were well fed and have full crops…..
Little bit of wrestling action- mostly chest bumping and holding head down….no pecking. The chicks are looking a little scraggly as their fuzz sprouts…..so cute!
Weather—about 63-64 now, gradually warming slightly overnight, into mid 70s tomorrow. Possibility of t-storms after 1a.m. thru til sunrise. Cloudy day predicted for tomorrow.
Nice clear view again…
Hope their down comes in soon! Gracie is having a hard time covering them ! One looked like it might be shivering when it was out to eat.
Thanks to ALLAN JOHNSON for the fish info…knew I recognized that fish but just couldn’t remember….it’s a pretty fish.
Gracie was slumped over, tucking to get away from rain….when she picked her head up, there was a piece of ?grass stuck to her beak
Shaking doesn’t seem to help….and the rain is picking up, to add to her aggravation…
Shows up better
Having a hard time getting the kids under cover!
Fish is in……….
…and the raindrops begin..gently
Gracie is moving furniture….
The chicks need to learn….when Momma is workin’
…keep your head down and DUCK!
about 10:15am..We have showers on the South Fork…can’t see that the OZ has them yet but you can see dark clouds to the south.
Did Gracie take a little dip?
My live stream keeps cutting out….anyone else with issues? About the video……
Preening and cleaning
Good morning to all who love our Ospreys. Thank you for all of your posts and pics. Nature sure is perfect when it chose George and Gracie to be the best parents ever. The chicks are too too cute and fun to watch from afar. . Great summer!
6-18-17 Reply- Jackie Budris welcome to another year and we already have our drama with that green ribbon in the nest. Great Season 3 with the 2 babies and George bringing in so much fish that almost anytime there is a fish laying in the nest. The babies have crops now and they get as big as a balloon. They fall into a food coma from complete fullness. How wonderful to have such good fish this year. Not to mention our George is a wonderful fisherman bird ha… He has great skills even though they seem so clumsy in the nest when it comes to fishing he is right on target. He was feeding Gracie around 2x a day to give her a rest but the last night or so I have not seen him feed her 1 a day.
Nice talking to you and glad you are watching. Soon our babies will have pin feathers.
Love Our Osprey Family and Followers 🙂
See we got the first official p.s. at the camera! The season is off and running……..which was not meant as a joke, but if the poo fits….Guess I’ll find out the culprit when the comments come in…..
Thought the @$^()+ ribbon was gone but I see it laid out across the nest. Had heard about the perilous incidents during the day and was afraid to log in when I got home. Hope more grasses and seaweeds come in to bury it!
Ranay- thanks for the video on osprey….always enjoy learning more.
Betsy- thanks for identifying that plastic cup….ever more inventive with her finds! People are just TOO “generous” leaving their crap around!
Thanks to everyone for all their postings. Now that I’m not on vacay, I have to catch up thru you all………….
Who dunnit! Nobody is taking responsibility for the p.s. on the camera. It looks overcast there today. Maybe rain will wash it off. Can’t blame them for what they did. They are too cute to be blamed. Have a great day everyone, including our osprey family!!
Oops, the egg surfaced. Guess this is going to be like the green ribbon. Sad!
NJD – I did reply below at 2:57 to your first post just FYI.
And we all have our OOps moments. Take care 😃
The green ribbon got snagged on George’s foot when he went to fly off …
Then sliding down to his talon …
And sliding off his talon to remain in the nest
Eventually getting snagged around BOTH of Gracie’s legs …
Then it got snagged on the fish that George brought …
The worst was when George flew off with the leftover fish and the entwined ribbon … LIFTING UP CHICK #1 whose wing was folded over the ribbon …
Wrong caption!! Should have been Gracie flew off after feeding the chicks!
Before the ribbon’s end released and freed end of the ribbon landed back in the nest
Which I was worried about and noted in my June 13, 2017 at 9:02 am comment. I hope there is no catastrophe such as posted on http://ospreyzone.com/environment/
That ribbon is really becoming an issue. Gracie got a little snagged on it earlier. Hope it finds its way out of the nest before a chick or two gets snagged.
G & G buried the egg this morning after it cracked. It looked as if it was shrinking or shriveling, although as the chicks grew the egg may have just appeared smaller.
6-15-17 Reply- NJD The egg has had the crack and it did not get buried by Gracie maybe wishful thinking on your part. The babies are getting big quick.
The babies were at the side of the nest and the egg was not in the “hole”. I scrolled back slowly and noticed the egg was to the side of the “hole” and was covered with nesting material. I believe it was George that was standing in front of the buried egg. It appeared to me that G & G were trying to bury this egg. Apparently the egg worked its way back into the “hole” and became visible again.
“Fore!” Gracie was positioning the stick she had just brought, using her wings for balance … duck, George, duck!!
Good one……except for confusing George ,saying….” Gracie, you know I’m NOT a DUCK!”
Egg #3 is cracked this morning but I don’t see any movement as of yet ugh
6-15-17 my gift to you Babies 1 and 2
Thanks Rjoneal, this is so funny! Enjoy everyone’s updates and other postings.
6-15-17 Bonnie glad I could make you laugh,thank you for your pictures and posting lately you have been a real chatter box lol haaaa (Its a Funny ) No really glad you are posting more and more every year. Osprey Hugs keep on watching and reporting to all the followers.
6-15-17 ALL OSPREY ZONE FOLLOWERS
Pip did put up a good fight, it was so heart wrenching to watch the fighting and sibling attacks. Though we got over it and enjoyed seeing Ronnie & Sandy flourish. 😀
6-17-17 Trinity he did fight for what little food he got.
I wish they sold this shirt I buy it in a heartbeat…PeeWee will never be forgotten
6-17-17 June C 🙂
What a wonderful post to honor our Peewee. We will never forget him! Thank you.
6-17-17 Reply- Ginger G thanks for posting to me and for being part of our Osprey Family. Also glad your feeling the same way I do about our 1st family that started it all with PeeWee. Here is another pic just for you hope you like.
Love our Osprey Family and Followers
Think of him all the time! A short life to teach such a big lesson…….
6-17-17 Carol Agree 100%
Thank you for sharing. PeeWee will never be forgotten. Rest in peace
6-17-17 Reply- Susan M thank you for posting to me as well. So glad I could share some feelings about our osprey family that stole my heart and then I was addicted to the George and Gracie Nest. Miss PeeWee bunches but we all did learn so much from him. Take care
George surveying his domain
It’s cooler and a gorgeous June day is predicted…..yay!
Morning fish break………
Pretty color in the sky….and a sailboat for Betsy…
George brings in a good looking fish……
as a crow streaks past right after he lands…
Weather vastly improved after a short storm this a.m. Still sunny, less humidity.
ALL OZ FOLLOWERS- If you want to learn more about Ospreys even though it is not on our birds good info on Osprey Sibling rivalry and how much care the babies need at this stage. Eric Greene does a live chat and sooo much info and a lot pertains to any Osprey Nest. Good thing to check out if you are new or just want to see if you can learn something new. The beginning of chat is a little messed up but they do fix the audio. I encourage all to try to watch to educate and then bring that knowledge back to our nest to help our followers out with questions.
This will also give you a good understanding how great our George and Gracie really are. Hope you learn something and can use it to relate to our G&G nest.
Love Our Osprey Family and Followers!
Thank You for posting..it was very interesting..watched the whole interview…
6-17-17 June C, Welcome of course glad you watched it. Amazing birds, Ospreys just love them. 🙂
Thank you for posting the address of this chat and for all of your postings. Mr. Green added greatly to my Osprey education. Time very well spent.
6-17-17 Reply- Fracnes thank you for posting and being with us. Love to share info when I can and so glad you watched. Take care and keep posting once and awhile love to hear from you. Our family is growing fast and soon lil pin feathers will be there can not wait.
I was really getting concerned, only saw one chick for a very long time after they both evaporated to the right hand side for a while. Then one showed up and that darn plastic would occasionally wiggle and thought the other chick might be cooking and stuck under there. But finally, finally it made its way topside and back into camera view. Darn, way to scare this old person kid!
I thought the same exact thing… Glad to see them sleeping together
Bonnie and Marg: Me, too!! Good thing I was behind and didn’t have to watch “live” — I jumped ahead to see if chick #2 made it back to the nest bowl!!
What happened to the second chick? One of the parents was feeding the babies and they kept moving further and further to the right of the nest/screen. Now I only see one baby! Did it fall out????
Crazy stick! She did not like where it was going, so they both moved it. Guess where?
Right in front of the camera. So, it got moved again after a few minutes.
Is that a small pip at the end of the egg?? I am afraid if that egg hatches now it won’t have a good outcome.
6-14-17 Reply- Gina there are a couple of pips on egg, it appears when the baby was trying to get out it was not strong enough and to weak so it is not alive at this point. There was a lot of activity with it moving and a couple pips on 1 day then 24 hours went by and nothing then 48 hours nothing. This leads us to believe for whatever reason the chick was on its way out with pips and movement but just did not make it. 🙁 At this point it is a good thing this baby 3 would have been like Rocky or worse had it hatched. Rocky was an exception that he actually survived and made it to fledge.
Miss talking to you hope all is good and you are doing well. Keep in touch lady!
Chick #2 is 1 week old today
HAPPY FLAG DAY The G&G Family 2017
I was all excited – I thought the green string was gone. I guess with the way the sun is hitting the nest, I didn’t see it at first. Not happy it’s still there…Hoping our babies don’t get tangled up in it.
Hope everyone is doing well!!
What is amazing me is how fast the chicks are growing. The 3rd egg gives us a comparison. Now chick 2 only 1 week old and 1 9 days old you wonder how the fit in that tiny shell.
Most of us this will be our 3rd. year of this wonderful family. With the egg there u see the growth rate more clearly. We can see early on they are strong, feisty and will grow close to same rate.
Love all the pictures and comments. I may not post regularly but have my notebook close keeping track of family activities…and a Thank You to Rjoneal n Margaret who fill me in and to our wonderful pictures and the comments that go with them…especially wings and feathers
Lightning storm in the evening
I tried catching that but lost patience….was past my bedtime—
George with early morning fish
Chick #2 tries to pick up a dropped piece of fish to eat!!
Here’s a new wing picture!! (Gracie)
Gracie’s latest find: a shredded plastic drinking cup!!
George flew to the nest with a stick, but dropped it just before reaching the nest!!
Sparrow flying to its home inside G&G’s nest
Chick #2 thought Gracie’s foot made a great pillow!!
A yellow warbler flew toward the nest, but changed its mind before landing and turned back midair and flew away
I saw a photo of the Two Chicks squaring off to do Battle. I noticed a side by side comparison and it looks like there isn’t much size difference between the two
But how many days are they apart in age
And can anyone tell me on an average on a good day how many fish are delivered to the nest and is it only George or does Gracie fish
Does anyone know what that is? Who brought it in?
CarolV: Gracie did — see my pic 🙂
Nice fish in @ 7:33pm
It was high 80s, low 90s today…now we’re waiting for t-storms to break the heat…..
The fish this year look completely different from the menhaden (bunkers) of prior years. From the internet:
QUESTION: As a longtime subscriber of Sport Fishing magazine, I always enjoy learning about interesting fish in Fish Facts. And as a fisherman of the waters of western Long Island Sound (along the New York/Connecticut shoreline) for five decades, I always bring my camera with me while out on my boat (which I am more than 100 days every year). When ospreys dive for bunker (menhaden), it’s truly a sight to behold. I’ve been fortunate to have captured some super shots of them dive-bombing schools of bunker, latching their talons into the fish, and flying off to feast. I’m wondering what kind of fish this osprey is holding in my photo. — Joe “Boatographer” DeMarte, New York City
ANSWER: Your photo shows an osprey carrying a butterfish, Peprilus triacanthus, a relatively common fish off the Atlantic coast of North America, from as far north and east as Newfoundland and — in deep water — as far south as Florida. Superficially, it looks like a jack, but is immediately identifiable by the lack of pelvic fins and very blunt snout.
There is a small commercial fishery for the excellent-eating butterfish, based on an underexploited stock. The 17 other species in this family (Stromateidae) are highly oceanic and only rarely occur in coastal waters. An exception is the harvest fish, Peprilus paru, which occurs in coastal waters off the southern United States.
I take a lot of bird photos myself, and never miss the opportunity to photograph an osprey carrying fish prey. The challenge is to identify the fish, which will tell you something about the habitat(s) where the osprey has been hunting. Ospreys aren’t capable of going very deep to snag their prey — perhaps only as deep as the length of their legs. Even so, they’re often seen carrying winter flounder, at least off New Jersey. The flounder either swim into water only inches deep or make occasional sojourns near the surface.
Butterfish do occur near the surface, at least during summer, when small groups can be found in bays and estuaries throughout their range. In winter and spring, however, they occur near bottom on the continental shelf, as deep as 600 feet, well out of reach of ospreys.
George landed bang-on with this weed….covered the dang ribbon but didn’t leave it there….too bad.
I’m not getting any work done by just staring at Egg #3 LOL 🙂
6-14-17 Reply- Pattie Hoolie dont stare to long your eyes will play tricks on you and soon you will think you see the egg moving haaaaa… No hope for egg 3 but it is a good thing. We got plenty of entertainment without a third baby. Take care
6-13-17 One of our Osprey Zone Followers has a Birthday today June C, have a nice good day.
Happy Birthday June C!!! 😀😀🎉
Happy Birthday, June C!!
May God bless you with many more years full of good health, love, success, happiness.
Thank you so much for the Birthday wish.
Has there been any discussion about whether that 3rd egg is still viable?
Lots of discussion, no resolution. I believe it is still within the time frame of suggested hatch periods for some research sites. But I believe the major consensus among posters is we hope it doesn’t hatch. It would probably lead to an unpleasant bullying situation we would prefer not to watch.
There’s been some pecking going on — usually it’s chick #1 that starts it!!
Oh, yeah — chick #1 is on the left! 🙂
Reply.. Bb1 is quite a bit bigger when you see the close up.. Great picture Betsy
MargaretR: Thank you!
I haven’t seen any ‘fighting’ between the chicks yet. (But, I don’t always log on….lol)
I’m assuming chick #1 (he’s the bigger one, right?) is the fighter?
Assuming the third egg will not hatch. At this point, it’s probably best. That little guy wouldn’t catch up to his bigger siblings.
Monica: Yesterday there was a good amount of pecking going on!! Chick #1 is on the left and it is the one that usually starts the fighting!!
Great shot! Thank you 🙂
I saw that too. Both handled themselves well though.
Leanne: Chick #2 seems to know when to give in!!
Babies fighting, Where’s there boxing gloves. I will tell you one thing they are both tough. LOL
Unfortunately that green ribbon worked itself up yesterday after getting buried …
I was worried that, just like in 2015, the ribbon will tangle around a chick’s leg acting like a tether …
Your not the only one worried…I wish it would get caught in someones talons as they leave nest…
But, now, after watching Gracie move the ribbon, which was under and over the chicks and pulling the chicks up …
Now I’m worried that if George or Gracie’s talon gets snagged in the ribbon and the ribbon is around the chicks, they’ll go hurtling out of the nest when George or Gracie fly off