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March 18, 2016 Timelapse
The Summer of 2015 by GinaM
Osprey Rescue Extended - July 30, 2015
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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
Changing of the Guard
Breakfast is Served
Let's Hang Out
Hard to Get
Dinner is Served
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
Did I see that correctly? Did Gracie go out and catch her own fish for them?
I keep rechecking but I’m certain that was Gracie who glided into the nest with a big fish at about 1:40 eastern. She seemed to struggle a bit getting it into the nest like she wasn’t used to doing it and looked hot. Guess she finally got tired of waiting for George. Hope he’s OK wherever he is.
Maybe this will continue and they can increase their intake of food.
Gracie went out and got a big fish herself
1:07 CT WOW! Did anybody else see that? About 30 minutes ago Gracie flew in with a good sized fish and what made it so great was that you could see her flying over the water and up to the nest. Very exciting to watch. I scrolled back a few times just to re-watch it. NICE!!
Roughly around 1:30 p.m. a fish was brought in. Was it Gracie?
Hope someone has sharper eyes and can clarify this for me: Around 1:40Pm July 20 I am almost certain GRACIE brought in a gigantic fish!! Can this be??
Didn’t face camera long enough for me to try to id her. Fish was massive. Adult nearly lost it. Sometimes it seems the chicks even grab some of the fish themselves??
Very hard to see since they are all packed it at the far most edge of the right hand side of nest!!! Which ever adult, great catch. kids were very hungry!
Which one came to the nest at 1:40ish with a fish? If it was George, Grace is not there. If it wasn’t George, then Grace has become the fisherbird.
Which ever one has the fish off to the side of the nest & doesn’t seem to be feeding the young.
I too think the camera lens looks better today. Well maybe George really did use that windshield wiper to clean it for us last night .. To Lynn Cutlet I don’t know if you know this but this is Gracie and George’s first babies it’s a learning experience for them as they get older and more mature they will get better . They say in general ospreys are good to their young. We can’t always be hard on George because environment and weather has a lot to do with his fishing capabilities. We are all just trying to keep the faith and cheer George ,Gracie and the babies on !
Here’s to a good fishing day so far
Chicks seem hot although Gracie is trying to do her best to provide some shade. I hope George brings lunch soon so they can hydrate a little more before this afternoon. We’ve had storms here this morning and I wish I could send the Osprey Four a nice gentle rain to not only cool them off but to also rinse the lens. When was the last time your area got any rain? Seems like weeks ago.
I’ve been away and it’s so amazing how the babies have matured in five days! I do love this site!
I love that the babies are looking RIGHT into the camera!
Maybe this question was already answered and I missed it.
Paul, tell us please, then and how will the sexes of these two young ospreys be known?
I just came off the Orient Point Ferry and was thrilled to see many nests just driving on Soundview Ave. What Joy!!! R.H.
poor babes look very hot
10:32 a.m. Good Morning!!! I’ve been on vacation. How are things with the family?! 🙂
The babies are huge!! I can’t believe how quickly they’re growing. 🙂
Hi, I am really hooked on this website and have left comments in the past. But, I would be remiss in not thanking Paul and Tommy for all that they did to make this amazing livestreaming possible! When we had a boat, we would ride by the state channel near Cedar Beach in Lindenhurst, and an osprey nest was on a platform in the water, similar to George and Gracie’s. I was always amazed by the birds and would take out my binoculars. However, now I have a first-hand look at another awesome family.
It does make me sad when I see the plastic and other junk in the nest. It just shows us where litter can end up. I, too, wonder if the plastic creates too much heat for the little ones (not so “little” anymore).
Anyway, I can’t wait to see them hatch. I also think the smaller sibling is catching up to the bigger one. I’m glad about that. The nest is really getting too small for the four of them! I, too, love Gracie’s fish dance. It’s so cute!! Thanks so much for erecting the platform and creating this website!!
Funny, when the fishing is good George is the greatest and a hero. When its Bad people don’t like him and call him all sorts of names. He is like a Football coach.
July 20 10:10Am
Chicks seem very very interested in something “out there” They are situated in the lower right hand corner of screen and seem fascinated with the view. Wonder what it is?
I was wondering the very same thing.
Good Morning. Just stopped by to check on the family before the possibility of more storms in the area today. Is it my imagination or does the lens look a tad bit cleaner? Could be my eyes too, which aren’t the greatest. I scrolled back to see that George has delivered 2 fish so far today which is always a good thing. I hope he continues to have happy hunting today because Gracie and the 2 chicks sure can cause a racket when they are hungry. Wishing everyone a good day and hope it’s not to hot for the Osprey Four. 🙂
I’m also thinking that the lens is getting clearer, still could use a good rinse. Maybe the morning dew, or just powdering and flaking off?
Good morning! Thank you for the update! George is doing a good job! And the lense is looking cleaner. Have a great day everyone! 🙂
Two fish already this morning that I have seen. Nice work, George.
Gracie is a bag lady.
finally it is the little one’s turn
finally little one’s turn
little one is behind mom so not getting his share at the moment
just in time for breakfast!!
I see Gracie added fresh greenery to the decor. Very pretty!
Too bad…it blew out
It’s so beautiful seeing the babies stretch their wings.
I think gracie has married herself a loser of a husband, lol, poor things, i feel for the whole nest ??
I don’t think George quite gets the hang of it. Perhaps he was a mama’s boy and is still waiting for Gracie to take care of him.
George caught quite a few fish yesterday if you weren’t tuning in and reading all the informative comments. He’s not a loser, probably learning like all new parents do.
If you compare the shins on Gracie and George, Gracies are bigger which leads me to think is older and poor George’s are thin. My own thoughts are he is the “runt” and in the first year, so he’s got a lot of learning to do and Gracie will do it. And you have to admit he’s come a long way so far … that is with Gracie in control.
What a relief that George managed to snag so many fish for the family this weekend, usually a tough hunting time with all the boat traffic.
8 50 est time Chicks Getting on each others nerves
It is 8:30pm and boy I hope that wind feels nice for them. It looks like Gracie could get ” blown ” off the nest if she doesn’t hold on tight. After this very hot and humid day. It was a good fish day for George. Gracie did great on shading the kids. Rest up for another one tomorrow. I hope it’s another good fish day for them all. Maybe with all the wind the plastic will blow out today??
Are these birds eating enough?
How old are the babies now?
I think 5 weeks and they fly about 8 weeks
I notice that the babies do not use the part of the nest where the plastic is and it is taking up half the nest. It might be because it is very hot here today and maybe the plastic is hot or they just do not like the feel of it. Just another reason to ban plastic in our world. It causes so many problems for humans and animals I am hoping it dislodges and flies away as some other plastic did.It is supposed to be hotter tomorrow so I hope they get to use Gracie’s shade better than they did today. It is usually very hot (low 90’s) and humid here for about 2 weeks in the middle of July yet except for today and tomorrow the temp if supposed to drop back into the mid 80’s.We definitely need rain it is unusually dry this summer.
I think every time I sign on, there is something new in the nest, lol….Pretty soon, they either have to have a “yard/nest” sale or those kids better learn how to fly….I never knew these nest could be so interesting….I do check in on another nest and they have a visitor joining their family of 4…Getting pretty crowded there, also…..
good night the babies are huge!!! poor Momma and Daddy trying to keep up with the fishing and feeding! George and Gracie are doing something right or those babies wouldn’t be flourishing like they appear to be. Happy Sunday everyone. 🙂
Grace is pack-rat garbage collector.
Maybe they’re like us humans – too hot to move or eat much. Mom doing a great job of trying to shad them. 3:30 PM EDT and temperature here on the Sound on LI is 91 and very humid. Don’t think I want to make dinner tonight either!
Just peeked in at 3:30 EST and saw a HUGE branch in the middle of the nest. No wonder they are at the edge.
Gracie just brought in a HUGE branch! She must have read that comment about fortifying the rim for flying exercise! We also saw a great example of her flying ability as she scooted around to find a position in the nest.Beautiful tail display
I think Gracie missed the memo that large branches are for the edge.
Just after 6pmEDT George dropped in empty clawed. Gracie was out. George took one look at that branch in the middle of everything and had to start rearranging. Made some room in the center. Gracie came in with some seaweed, asked how his day had been,where had he been for hours and, since the kids were now hungry where was dinner? George departed.
My apologies to Geo. Re-watched that segment and he was carrying something for the nest. Wasn’t totally goofing off.
About 2:25EDT George brought something which Gracie wrestled him for. Didn’t seem like much but George was modeling for the camera and blocked the view. It went quickly
2 27est george brings in a carnival fish. You know the kind you win and they put in a plastic bag. ( do I have to keep entiering my E mail everytime I post a comment?)
I notice that some call the chicks by name. Have they been named ?
Not Yet, planning to name the babies when they start flying.
George came in about1:40pmEDT with fresh fish; which Gracie took.. He spotted fishtail in middle of nest and was trying to feed someone. Gracie took her fish and hopped around rim of nest to get to where she wanted to be…I was afraid she would lose fish! The kids went to mom for fresh fish so dad snacked on old tail and took off with his snack.
Just a few minutes before 12:44 PM, CST, either Grace of George showed up with a fish. I thought it was Grace making all the noise when the other Osprey arrived with a fish. The nest is so crowded that it was very difficult to see the exchange of the fish. Then, the Osprey that caught the fish began feeding the chicks. I’m confused.
10:15 PDT Looks like Mom’s motherly instincts are kicking in. She is shading the chicks but also looks like she is keeping them from getting any closer to the edge. Time to put up more baby gates:)))
Just looked in at 1:15 nest time and see Gracie standing on the edge of the nest doing her best to provide some shade. Must be very hot today.
Sunday 1 PM Gracie is doing a great job holding her wings out to shade her babies today what a good mommy. From what I saw it appears both babies got plenty of food today so far let’s hope George brings in a good dinner. When I googled the weather it said it was 90 feel like temperature of 102 in Long Island where the nest is no wonder those poor babies are hot if that is true. Hang in there kiddo’s !
The nest would be a beautiful creation without the human intervention: like plastic grocery bags, black hefty bags, cardboard, etc. How are the Osprey supposed to know that plastic can
suffocate them or entangle them ? Hopefully when human’s see an Osprey nest, they clean up the near surroundings.
Grace and the kids are all sitting on the porch together looking out over the bay. It’s Osprey TV for them to watch.
11:45amEDT George provides again! SUPERSTAR!!! But the last fish he brought was so big Gracie was choking down a last big piece maybe 15mins ago..Gracie took possession and did a convincing dance till George left but noone seems too interested. One chick hanging out by upper rim and the other has taken up residence under Gracie’s tail… I could catch glimpses of him and I just saw the his head under her outer wing
Gracie picked at last fish and the less dominant chick got another feed. @12:20 the gang is relaxed and sight-seeing and the rest of fish shining in middle of nest
George brought in a nice large fish. Can anyone tell us the temp now, babies sure look hot….
10:36 good size fish for lunch
10:36amEdt George just brought in big intact fish. He swooped in so fast mom didn’t have time for the full dance!
About 15 mins. before lunch arrived the chicks were exploring…one stepped right up into the camera view. He seemed to be up on rim of nest and was enjoying himself. I’m glad George showed up because both chicks were panting and probably needed hydration.
One chick is monopolizing mom’s feeding end and the other is standing in the shade under her tail! He grabs the occasional piece but is waiting his turn
Good thing it was a big fish! Chick one ate for at least 15mins. before chick 2 could get any real food. He’s perfecting his between mom’s legs feeding position…food and shade at same time!
Gracie had a lot to dance for on this delivery. A nice, big juicy fish for all to enjoy. 🙂 9:37 CST
#1, Gigi, is getting her fair share, of course with #2, Izzy, waiting for hers BUT grabbing a few pieces between Gracie’s legs. I need to sign off for now as we have storms rolling in. Hope to check in again shortly. Hope all my osprey family have a wonderful day 🙂
WE on eastern LI are jealous of you and your storms! We get promises, promises and nada! A quick roll through shower at best!
Poor babies, very hot today with a heat advisory & no rain in the forecast. I’m hoping they get frequent feedings today.
Has anyone decided on what they think the sex of these babies is? At first, I thought both were females but now I am thinking that baby 1 is a girl and baby 2 might be a boy.
The fish store must have closed. There will probably be more boats out today, too. George must be around ’cause Gra vocalizing a lot. Noticed she brought in some new plastic. The other was getting shabby.
I can hear Geo too and Gra looking above…intruder maybe?
Gracie is calling George and both chicks are chiming in with her!
What body of water are we looking at- the Great Peconic Bay or Long Island Sound? Lots of chripping going on right now Has George brought enough breakfast yet?
great close-up of lil george, smile for the camera 😉 8:50
The big one is getting up close and personal with the camera… I think he wants to try out that cool perch daddy is always sitting on
Its going to be the hottest day of the summer here in Rockland today. Perhaps the same for L I. Has it been decided that Heavy boat traffic causes the fishing to be more difficult or is that still just a hypothesis?
It’s going to be a scorcher today, expect lots of boat traffic. Best fishing should be early before the craziness begins.
George obviously hanging out on perch because he and Gracie are having a loud conversation! Had to turn down sound! My ear drums pierced!
I love Gracie’s little “Here come the fish” dance. She squawks like crazy, kneads the nest quickly and moves to the edge as if to make sure George has sufficient room to land. She is so funny to watch 🙂
I agree, Gracie’s fish dance is one of my absolute favorite things to watch! At this point I can hear the change in her squawking from across the room and I know a fish is coming without even looking, haha.
All mother ospreys do that, but it’s funny to watch.
About 5:35amEDT George brought in a small tail section. One chick got most of it. It looked like he got a chunk that he carried off to one side and worked on by himself. I think Gracie found leftovers that she shared and the second chick got some of that. The kids are getting louder vocalizing.
6:43am …George brought in good sized headless fish then stood in front of camera!
Gracie chose to feed on far side of nest but it looked like both chicks were getting fed.
Another small fish is delivered. 5:44 CST.
I thought fish 1 was totally gone but if you look at the bottom right of the nest you’ll see Gigi eating it all by herself. 4:47cst
I thought Gracie found a piece leftover from yesterday. Chick had small piece, maybe his favorite fin. Gracie was pulling something bigger.
Very possible because when I was watching Grace and Gigi eat this morning they were eating on the very left of the nest. Later, Gigi was on the right hand side, eating what I assumed was leftover from fish one.
Very small fish for breakfast. 4:35 CST
Baby 1, Gigi, ate the whole thing. It really was very small.
So, well, after all the eats today and all the antics we are so privileged to enjoy…..thank you , thank you, !!xoxoxo, now looking forward to actually seeing George & Gracie’s kiddies getting ready to fly!!, So excited to be able to witness all of this,!!Oops, have I said Thank you, guys, enough?!
Wow. Watching them test their wings in the wind tonight… makes me think of the song Summertime
“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’
So hush little baby, Don’t you cry
One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But ’til that morning, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin’ by”
I love it 🙂
You are my kinda gal!! How appropriate! Makes me think “Summertime” would be a perfect name for one of these birds I think maybe they are strengthening their wings for flight in a few weeks. I thought I read, September. ??? Thanks for the post!
Looks like George’s windshield wiper blade fell out of the nest… unless he took it out to put in the garage. 🙂
Wow. Gracie is doing some serious squawking while looking up at the perch. Is it possible she’s telling George to go get dinner? If I was him, I’d do it. NOW! lol
She is really agitated. She’s been squawking for 10 minutes and even has had a baby join in. 6:05 CT
6:47pmEDT George must be home and on the perch…Gracie chirping and looking up there…she sounds raspy…
She’s relentless…and the kids just sleep…they must be teenagers!
Why would there be intervention on this nest? Intervention = interference. The zoo keepers need to be kept at bay.
I had no idea that it hardly ever rains on long island.
We’re just having an unusually dry spring/summer. But we had plenty of snow the last 2 winters! This little rain is rare.