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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
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Hard to Get
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OspreyZone Highlights: George Returns
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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
The moon leaves as the sun takes over….. and The O’Spreys are on the move…
Jane in the evening light…..
Partly cloudy and clearing tonight… 39 by dawn… but a sunny and cool day tomorrow…HAGN!
16:24…. George got the message….F-I-S-H!!!!
Jane didn’t give him time to fold his wings….. grab&GO
George happily went back to nestorating….. then, dozed in the sunshine… and quiet
Jane is yammering at George whether upstairs or down…… Where’s the fish!!!????
Who are you today???? George Villa???? Enough with the reno and PLEASE think FISH!!!
Jane must know what’s coming… she popped upstairs …..
George went in to full nestoration mode…. a tweak here, move a stick there…
Even a chest push…. always so cute!
Jane is back….. “Oh, we could do a shoot for ‘Good Nestkeeping’…. the place looks great!”
Then she started with the lunch order…
Lot’s of this going on today! Good sign for eggies!
Jane surveys her realm, enjoying the sunshine and quiet…
Mostly sunny day but 51 now only hitting about 54-55 this afternoon
She is hanging in the nest longer times…Egg soon…I hope…last year 2 eggs already in nest on 5/14/19 when cam came on…
George showed up at 4:48…. He was rarin’ to go but Jane didn’t drop down til he was bringing in his first load about 5:15…
And he kept bring things!
He was very particular about where each one went… and of course, Jane got in the way of one of them. And all this work before breakfish!
WAY TO GO, George!
He’s such a good provider! I just love him!!
He’s a superbird! Jane’s first, Squirmy, would not have survived without him
That’s the truth!
Hi Chris…..he is the best…love him too!
8:00 am…. Breakfish!
About 15 mins. later, George screeches in, guarding from a bird that was up by the perch…
Jane came in as back-up… George went out and Jane leaped after intruder’s next pass…
She had brought her fish tail back with her, which she dropped at some point…
After things calmed down and both birds were settled, George found Jane’s leftovers and enjoyed the victory prize!
Jane dropped from the perch for about 5 mins. Saying good-night to us!
Skies will be clearing overnight in to a sunny tomorrow! temps dropping to 43
The sun pops out and George pops in!!!!! Yummy dinnerfish! Jane feels better!
And is that a section of a rainbow across the bay????
getting ready to lay egg
Fingers…. all of them… crossed!
One of those passing showers…. the video was twinkling as the drops sparkled from the random sunshine…..
It may be hard to see the rain but that stinkin’ balloon shows fine…. just want to reach in and pluck it off the nest!
Jane looking a bit damp around the edges…. and yelling at someone…
It’s been another gray day! But the breeze is gentle and temp about 58…. Chance of a t-storm or shower about 4_5… Pop up storms passing around the area.
Intruders busy today but seems more harassment… George has been around for back-up….. Jane did some alarming…
@12:45…. George brings lunch and immediately starts alarming…. Jane was on the perch, sounding off, too.
…..An intruder zips passed but stayed away.
Jane dropped down and took her lunch…. a nice sized headless prize.
2 for 1 sale….. George brings a thin branch and a chunk of wood….was fussy about where that wood was placed…
Breakfish @8….. George delivered a good sized headless fish, which Jane was happy to take
Jane was down early, @4:40…..
George was in at 5:00 to bow ….
They both worked on the nest….. George brought materials; Jane moved things out of the egg cup…
And they already had to yell at fly-bys….
The wind has been battering Jane… and George… all day- 20mph or more…
But the sky was a beautiful blue and Jane soaked it up when she could.
Temps gonna drop a few to about 46, under gradually cloudier skies. Chance of rain after dawn…clearing later in the day.
There was a confrontation earlier…….
These may not be in exact timeline, but the whole incident lasted maybe 20 secs, and I loved these crazy shots of Jane in action…..
I went out to the store and so did George…. we both got home around the same time…..
George brought a good one! Still apologizing for that minnow this morning!
Oh Joy! A string in the nest!
Leftover deflated balloon ribbon….
I really wish they would band helium balloons! All they really are are wildlife killers!
WONKY Feather Alert!
Jane got hit with a gust of wind that caught her off guard…..
That danged ribbon is getting loose! It seemed nicely corralled but it’s escaping!
Breakfish…. second course!
Jane was happy! A headless good-sized portion…
GM; Happy Mothers’ Day!
You have to look closely…. there IS a fish there….. still wiggling, so it’s whole…. and black…
Jane had a hard time getting a claw on it, but she took it to go. What’s the expression? Good things come in small packages????
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL…
Stay safe and well!
Jane headed up early…….
Slight chance of a shower…. we had one run through on the South Fork before…. it was so quick it was over in about a minute!
Skies clearing after midnight and looks like a sunny morning…….temps bottom out about 40.
17:55…. Dinner in!
Hard to tell where one ends and the other begins!
Jane steps out………
….. George cleans up…
Cool cloud formation in the background of these shots!
Interesting episode….. A male approached with a fish tail… left it on the rim…
Jane was on perch, vocalizing
Jane came down and “rescued” the left behind fish…
The male came back, to hover over Jane…. she was not happy
George came to back her up….. and Jane got a free lunch!
Who can say no to a free dinner…
11:44…. brunch is announced as George makes his entry,,, quick turn-over and Jane goes
It’s a cool, blustery day…. 29mph out of the northwest….. temps to 47-48……. good day for cloud watching
OZ day started early @5:00 when Jane came down. George was in shortly
@7:06…. George brought a nice whole fish but Jane didn’t appear interested. She went for her run and George left.
George was back @7:26 with a now headless fish…. no Jane
Jane was back @ 7:32…. No George….
They finally co-ordinate @ 7:37…. Jane takes her fish…. guess the run made her hungry
Jane wasn’t gone long. George was nestorating ……. Jane did a good job cleaning that beak..
I see I screwed up with some pics…. oopsie! Sorry bout that!
I hope I’m right , but at 6:58 AM it looked like Jane2 on the nest and could be egg laying position. She is the one that would lay an egg first, I think.
Hi Paula…I think J2 will lay an egg first also..my concern is Jane making her leave the egg..Hope George as he has done in the past will sit on eggs….
I’m hoping for original Jane
I just hope there is no problems when eggs are laid…You could be right Carol..could be Jane….So i am going to stick with Jane..its less confusing..Ha
“Which one are you?”…. George kept glancing down. Either he was i.d.ing her or watching where she was moving the nesting.
Jane headed up about 7…early night.
There’s some rain heading our way, possibility of showers lasting till about 3a.m. Temps. dropping to about 38…. sigh… Spring is flirting and deserting…
Hi ..I really think its J2 on nest..either way hope someone lays an egg soon!!!
@ 17:17…. George brings a small fish tail… Jane isn’t fussy. Easy to carry snack…
Around 17:18 someone is eating the bark, or something like that. Can someone clue us in on what’s going on?
Hi…..Paul, is this what you mean? George just brought in a fish, or a piece of one, and now he’s cleaning his beak.
Yes, thanks, seemed as if he was cleaning the bark off the stick, I guess in a way, he was.
Lots of drama, hoping it doesn’t interfere with our normal sequence of events.
We’re working on posting regular highlights, as current as possible, just playing with it right now. I’m wondering if any of our knowledgeable viewers would be willing to help us with some informative copy for voiceovers. We’d like to make these highlights not only enjoyable, but an educational experience for our viewers, especially kid’s home from school, their teachers and parents etc. let me know if anyone would be willing or even if you can recommend anyone who might be interested.
Many thanks to all who have contributed and participated over the years.
Depending on the technical requirements ( I’m not exactly savvy ! ) , it’s something I would be interested in doing. I’ve been watching this nest since it’s inception and to boot I have a clear speaking voice 😀
Thanks for your interest, i’m Emailing you now.
Paul, George was wiping off his beak, it’s called feaking.
Did not know that..love learning something new…Stay safe…
WINNIE ESOFF…. I agree…. this is a daytime drama this year but I’d spell it Soap-ospreya
And it’s happening in many of the ospreycam nests! Leap Year is a challenge to all of us!
@13:23…… After getting an earful from Jane not long ago, putting in her lunch order, George brings home this nice bloody entrée. Jane dances him in.
Thanks, dear. Just the way I like it…. rare! And off she goes……..
In this pic, Jane looks like she has gills in her wingpit!
This really only way to figure out which one is Jane…underwing marks are different…I think Jane2 has been in nest and Jane is trying to get it back..only an opinion…
Head markings, bib and some face markings help, too. But things change with movement and action can be fairly fast. I also wonder if, as thy molt and regrow feathers , can those also change? It’s not that easy, at least for me….
nor for me….George’s markings have not changed since the beginning…need an expert on this one..Great pictures Carol…
Another attack… not bad…. there’s been a lot of flyers over the bay….. and alarming….
This female-possibly J2- flies over a prostrate Jane to the bot. rt. corner and takes off. Jane did a quick fly-out and return.
George flies in…. pointing right at his target…
He puts it on her and she moves away, only to have him wrestle the stick after her…
She winds up straddling the stick, which gets stuck in her tail…. every time she tries to move, the stick moves too!
She took off to get away from it…
George is back to relocate that awkward stick….. he finally finds a place for it and ploncks another on top of it to keepit in place.
There was some jostling on the perch and 2 osprey flew out…. space issues? G & J were in a minute later…
Jane checking the surroundings till she went to perch about 8:15’…….
Supermoon tonight… last for 2020. Partly cloudy, clearing toward morning. 54 dropping to about 45-46.
Jane whichever wasn’t interested when George brought this fish, so he floated off on the wind…..
I have gotten a message from Betsy, who is a long time watcher, who says there are 3 females coming to the nest, one who looks similar to the original Jane. If that is the case, I will never get them straight!
But it would explain why I have been saying there are 2 males that look alike. George would act differently with another female, more deferential, than he does with original Jane or J2…..
So it’s a crapshoot now! Just lay an egg and we will call you JANE!,
The one who similar to Jane is the one you call J2. I saw 4 flying around earlier so there are quite a few, probably more than we know. I just hope someone lays eggs! Females don’t stay fertile all season!
my money is on J2/MsJ for the one to lay first egg and take the nest…
I think you might be losing it CarolV!
this is like a soapopera-so interesting-love it!
Someone was hovering…… looked like they dropped a fish ….. Jane finally got fed up…
I’m thinking this is “Romeo” the stray, from the way Jane acted towards him. She flapped at him, as if wanting him to leave.
I’m admittedly having a hard time telling him and George apart except for the way Jane acts. I thought he was in earlier, trying to land on Jane. He managed to get his feet on her and she just shrugged him off.
A fly-over, possibly J2, made Jane react and this guy startled, like he got caught! He settled right back in to hang out for a bit.
Fish comes in…. Jane takes it to go,
George takes a few minutes to nestorate.
This male is NOT Gorgeous George!
Uh Oh! Hoomans on the beach! Good thing you’re socially distant!
I have been lurking for several years but have not posted. So Hi everyone.
What I am wondering is whether these intruder birds could be from George and Jane’s previous clutches. Could they be yearling or second yearlings trying to return to their birthnest?
Do Osprey do that?
Hi Joy, it could be second or third year birds returning. Males tend to return to the area of the natal nest more than females, who generally end up much further away. They could have originated from other nests in the area also. No way to tell as there are no bands.
Hi Joy..glade u are here…sure there are more people out there as well
@11:06…………… All’s right with the world…OZ world.
I know this is Jane………… and that IS George
This has been another Days our Lives moment…both Jane n MsJ where at nest….
Once again… confusion…..
Jane2 came in and was eating her fish at the nest. She is joined by a male I was guessing was “Romeo”, the stray male who has been hanging around. He was strutting around and showing himself off so prettily!
But he looks so much like George! I had thought so previously, but I honestly can’t make a call this time….. no mating occurred, just flirting.
I don’t want to say “philander” but we have been watching how quickly George switches sides! ( and yes, I know, they’re birds, not people!.. Just kidding)
George is in charge of furniture…..
Jane is on guard duty…..
Jane was in as what appears to be a stray male goes by…… Jane decides to leave and gets kamikaze attacked as she goes…
Thursday at the OZ…. dawns beautifully……..
07:03…. Breakfish by George! Jane is right behind him………………. As Jane is collecting her fish, the harasser zooms by….
I’m surprised to see the nest empty at 9:30 pm……I guess I thought birds slept all night…..must be out getting a snack.
There is a perch above where it seems Jane goes each night, for now. Not sure where George sleeps, but he won’t be far,
It was a crazy day!
I think this is another male with a fish…. Jane started to alarm, then went submissive…..
Jane leaves………..There is some activity just to the right; then, 2 birds, one with fish, tour over the bay
Now, George comes in with fish, trailed immediately by another bird…… George has the fish still on his fault, but Jane takes after this bird… George flies off, too…….both were out for a while.
George is in…. no Jane… he goes….
Jane is in, no George… she goes….
Finally, all 23 get together,,, George, Jane and her fish!!!! Love story complete!
This becomes very interesting…the Osprey on top is MsJ…there was a male in nest and she was trying to shoot him away..crazy day…Very crazy day at the nest…
I watched this…missed the other….
MsJ was on the nest while male stranger hovered above. I think he was “courting”
After rewatching , I’ve realized that was Jane2 who was on the nest when George brought the fish. He flew over her once. When he came back, I believe it was JANE following him and chased J2 off the nest. She was out for a long time after that…… Her fish was well earned.
These birds need name plaques!!!!!
Battle! Fast and Furious!
Jane was on nest and saw it coming…. have to believe it’s Jane2….
Jane flipped over to get her talons forward; debris flew everywhere and Jane went over the edge.,……. incredible how quick it was!
Jane caught herself and went after the intruder…..
Holy moly ! Rumble on the East End !
Wow…..you caught great shots..
Nestorations go on…. nest cup is shaping up nicely…..Jane and George each added sticks.
Windy E@15mph) chill(50) day…… possible rain approaching… just blah….perfectly HumpDay!
Jane2 picked an unguarded moment to stop by the nest….
You can hear the challenge as JANE flies in and attacks J2……..
J2 takes off, with Jane not far behind…. following her out over the bay to drum in her point!
I do feel sorry for J2,,… but I think we have a better chance for chicks with Jane…. and we already know and love her….
7:05….. early breakfish!….as Jane flew out, we can hear alarm calls and George flew after her….. she circled back to nest.
George circles back and grabs a quickie….. is this osprey breakfish in bed?
When Jane takes off again, she almost took that ribbon with her. It snapped back to just in front of the camera view
George and Jane stop to say hello to us…… and to each other……
Jane brings in a balloon….. guess what no matter what’s happening in our world, we find time to pollute……
Very peaceful watching the moon shine over the bay…. It rose about 4pm, I think.
Sky clear till about midnight; then, clouding over ; temps drop to mid 40s. Cloudy tomorrow; chance of rain developing in afternoon; temps.to low 50s.
@19:13……And a late day snack….. Jane drops from perch to take and go…. lots of protein today for potential eggies!
17:05…. dinnerfish! And a big one, headless….Jane happily grabs it and hightails it out of there!
Jane is back in 20mins,. with her dinnerfish. She eyes the perch and heads up there.
Jane was poking around with that stick, which is just balanced there…. she got distracted by incoming….
@13:41….George brings a snack…. and off she goes
Jane is back barely 10mins. later. She does a touch and go, swooping down to the beach to return with seaweed…
Looks like George flying over with fish in foot…. Jane didn’t dance or alarm… she left nest
almost 15 mins. later, George is back, with the full song and dance welcome…. the usual grab&go from Jane
George was having a moment with the lens when he decided Jane needed attention….
He just floated upward and drifted backwards to land on her…. unique approach!
This poor lady !
Fly-over right above Jane……
George popped in right after Jane stood her ground….
The bright light of a not quite full moon….
Jane dragged her talons today… George was in before she roused herself… looked a little grumpy…… is she one of those spirits affected by the coming full moon?
George’s gym probably still closed…. got his exercise wrestling with that stick….
Jane flew in…… George was right after her…….. I wonder if they were off on an evening “walk”?
They had a quick good-night kiss, then George circled over the bay and Jane flew to perch.
GoodNight, everyone…. stay safe and healthy!
18:20… Dinnerfish… big as a dinner plate! Flounder with a small part at the head eaten, so Jane gets most of it. Sunset picnic time!
Off she goes…..
George cleans his beak, then stands around being handsome…..
The camera placement is perfect. The picture is beautiful. Better than in past few years. Just need the main event to appear. Thanks for doing this for us & doing it so well.
Yes ! I’m so happy with the upgrades 😀
How late in the season can she lay eggs and hatch and fledge and go into the community.
If the eggs are laid by the end of May, first week in June, the chicks will have time to grow, fledge and leave on migration. It’s not etched in stone though. I have seen many photos of young ospreys on Long Island in late Oct and some in early Nov. Of course some of these can be traveling ospreys from much further north, stopping by on their way.