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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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Let's Hang Out
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
10:10…. another fish! Yay!
….. Jane fumbled a little, but didn’t go til she had that grip.
George works hot on the egg cup….. Lookin’goood, G!!!
Love when he bows to her….
@05:24…… My son, the fisherman, says it’s fluke, not flounder, that would be in the bay so…. breakfish fluke, with just a small head removed. Enjoy, Jane!
Jane was out for a long time. George stopped in several times, looking for her. Judging by that crop, she enjoyed every bit of that fluke.
George brings a big clump for bedding…. but not a fish….
Temps dropping to 44 under clear skies…. sunny day tomorrow, close to 60.
Jane has been yammering…. George came in empty footed.
IShe had a lot to say…. looked like she was serious………
George left and was back for some incentive…
Our Queen, relaxing for a while, even bird watching!
But I can hear her yapping as I post this……
@16:11….. George brings a smallish piece of fish… looked like he had a good meal himself.
Neighbor pops out in the left corner… It’s mate just flitted in….
Jane got this stick out of the egg cup and did some straightening of the furnishings…
George brought in about 2 blades of grass and worked on the egg cup.
when Jane was back, they worked on the eggs.
GM, Jane and George! Full sunshine earlier than predicted! Can feel my spirits rising with the sun!
Not sure what Jane was doing….. teetering on the rails and whapping George with her tail…. cheering in the day?
George’s face says it all….
Jane was yammering a good 10mins. before George showed up…. she must have seen him nearby……BREAKFISH! Good size; Jane is happy!
George levitates out of sight…..
55 now, dropping to 47 under cloudy skies.
Tomorrow, cloudy gradually clearing to a sunny late afternoon. high of 57-58
@19:30…. George showed with an evening snack.. Jane was in a little bit after he got there and off she went.
Aerial ballet over the bay…. it looked like osprey but Jane didn’t seem particularly interested.
@16:34…. A really nice headless fish!
…… Jane was so happy to get it, she was crowding George…. and gave him an elbow bump in thank you!
………… And off she goes, lickety split!
George was back for the dessert………. and now he wants privacy??
George brings a nice clump of dried seaweed. As he approaches nest, he loosens his talons and whooosssshhhhh… the whole clump goes…
Well the nest is truly ready..its a beautiful one at that…now all we need is an egg or two…
The bad news is that the nest is still swaying enough to make me feel dizzy….. the good news is it should calm down after 3.
I don’t think the wind got the memo that it’s supposed to be dying down
This was a 2fer….. George made one advance, lofted off and was right back…I think Jane held position too long!
i love to watch them lift off with the wind..really cool…
George comes in for yet another exercise session… several already today
When he comes back, minutes later, Jane yaps loudly at him, probably looking for a fish….. I haven’t seen one yet today.
Then, she flaps off for the perch
And more sticks, two! At least Jane got an osprey hug…..
Wonder if this wind makes fishing difficult?
Yes it does, it’s easier to see fish when the water is calm. He’ll get one, George always comes through.
A sunny morning- temps to hit the 60s- but very windy!
George fought the wind bringing this in,, ,Jane sees it coming……, not only landed the stick on Jane but himself as well!
Next stick, Jane ducks just in case….
Later, George brings one that looks like Jane’s style…
Staying mild tonight… dropping to about 50 under cloudy skies…… getting windy tomorrow, temps to 60. with partly cloudy skies.
We’re luckily getting missed by that tropical storm coming up the coast but heading off to sea. Had been expecting 4 days of rain… now may get some rain over the weekend….
@19:20…. almost had a candlelit dinner! It’s more a snack…. 1/2 a smallish fish…
…. Jane gets her grip and goes …. and Studmuffin gets his beak all polished before he goes…
Jane came back after maybe 20 min. with her fish….pest harassing her…
I thought this was George but maybe she was so worked up and, having the fish to protect, it looked like she took a lunge at him…
This time she came back and George was waiting for her upstairs.
@14:28…Jane gets a gorgeous headless flounder… yummy for the tummy! She surfs off on her fish board…
It’s been a busy day already….. The important part…breakfish at 6:49… a decent med. headless one.
And all the important osprey activities… Jane straightening the house…
……………………..George delivers more sticks,,,,,
………………………..Time for bonding..several times…working on those eggs
………………………………….and pests on the move…George was yelling from the perch before flying off himself
Was it show-me-your-butt day? We had several versions of feathered derrieres ,,,, this one is too cute!
54 dropping to 48 under cloudy skies….. cloudy tomorrow but warming to about 60….
@17:15….Maybe I missed it, but this was the only fish delivery I found this afternoon/evening. And all the fish today were small, partial portions.
George’s shadow fell on Jane…. it looked like he was drying his wings…
Let’s do it right in front of the camera!
Saw a couple of kissing sessions right in our faces…
That’s an interesting branch, George! He wrestled it in to place.
Jane’s taste runs more to simplistic modern…. pardon the feathers in the face.
A pest was hanging around as she came in…
@9:55am…George was in with a med. headless fish but no Jane….He took off.
I went out, in the meantime. After checking back, I see one or the other at the nest but I see them finally meeting up for the exchange @11:42.
There was breakfish early…. look closely, it is there…. appetizer fish!
Our beautiful O’Spreys
We already have fly-overs….
And George has been working…… A nice wishing stick…as in, we wish we have eggs soon…
…. and a big clump of seaweed
And another nice stick….
Can’t forget the wiggle-push!
George has some more additions…..
Temps dropping under cloudy skies….about 67 at 7pm to 48 by dawn.
George comes back with the fishtail…..
Jane struggles to get a claw on the small piece.
She seemed a bit hesitant about flying off and I hoped she would stay…. but no, instinct is to fly off….
George watched her go…..
AND SHE”S BACK!!!!! YAY! All clear! And George is in seconds later to celebrate!
@16:05…. George brings another fish….. he keeps looking up at Jane and does some vocalizing….. you could see plastic snips flapping from the perch…… and he goes
George was in and out….. when he decides to eat the fish, Jane comes down….. When she tried to take the fish, George flew off…..
Jane tried working at the plastic and may have loosened it on one leg, but walking just makes it worse
Jane got the @#^& bag wrapped around her legs… flew to perch
Flounder delivery @13:46
Lots to keep Jane busy for a while….. she had a bit of a struggle getting a grip but I think she held on… fingers crossed!
George had headed towards the perch a few minutes before….
This bird, possibly female, made a run towards the perch
You’ve been doing so well with the wooden furnishings, George, and the seaweed/grass accents……..
…………. George goes plastic for a rug. He tested it out
Jane has been making the nest. Just right,,,,maybe she is ready…
Hello osprey watchers. I was in Bayville, NY this morning. I saw the osprey nest right near the beach. An osprey was in the nest chirping away as four ospreys were flying around. I think the mate was trying to get the others to go away. So I guess the ospreys all over are having a crazy season.
I’m wondering if they are just so successful here on the Island that any nests erected just don’t fill the demand. Not much predation so I’m thinking there is a higher fledgling return rate. Speculation….
Watching other nests with the eagles and GHO attacks, even raccoons or ravens and crows, I see how easy we local nest watchers have it, without all the worrying. Fish supply and sibling aggression are really our only worries.
Carol— what you said makes perfect sense. They are fighting for nests because there aren’t enough around. Osprey nests have to be built on a platform. Other birds build nests in trees, cliffs, etc… I am so glad that we don’t have to watch the predation that has been seen at many osprey nests . Long Island does have a beautiful view.
Every week we go for drives. We have checked the eagles in Centerport. That was a wonderful site to see. Next trip we may try to find the osprey nest that is on PSEG in Oyster Bay. I am sure many people are finding nests online relaxing during this time.
Thanks again for all you pictures and info.!!!!!
I live 1/2 mile away from Centerport Eagles….
Carol…You are not alone! Ha…Thanks for daily updates…
Nap time…. already traffic on the bay…. good to see
Rained again….. but the sun will be out soon…..67-68 later
Jane and George both hopped down from the perch at sight of an intruder. It flew right over their heads and was carrying a fish. I thought it was aiming for the nest.
A pause for the cause…. let’s hear some applause!
Jane was a little slow coming down from the perch…. But she gets a medium size headless fish….. yummy!
Just one more because I liked this pic…
Beautiful blue view……..
Was a gorgeous day,,, still72 in OZland. We are @64….amazing what a difference that ocean breeze can do!
Chance of a possible t-storm or shower between 10pm and 4am…… clearing skies show a probable sunny day after 10am…..high 0f 67.
That should have read dinner at 18:04……… then she was back @18:18
Jane was reacting to a fly-by as George came in…. and it looked like he was being shadowed.
Nice sized headless fish, which Jane took as soon as pest disappeared.
Love in the afternoon…
Yep very romantic 😍
Bet you’d all like to know! Will she or won’t she……..
I’m wondering if that’s a brood patch…. and do they always have them? I hadn’t noticed this before. Now, I’m wondering if George would sense Jane has eggs developing or if it would just be something that is formed regardless ….
Just for luck…….
2018- eggs were laid 5/23…. 5/26….5/29
One chick hatched….. George sitting on eggs
…………………………George pulling out a shell
…………………………George meeting Squirmy
THE EVER HILARIOUS>>>> Jane meeting Squirmy…………………She was edging closer to see this new thing,,, and it moved!
For Paula and June c……. and everyone who loved Squirmy and the Tale of a New Mom 2018
This was great, poor Jane, she was so freaked out!
One of the funniest moments I’ve seen on here….. I hadn’t expected that reaction!
Thanks CarolV. I do remember this. I almost cried when George looked at him for the first time. I was ever so grateful that Jane’s maternal instincts FINALLY kicked in and George was able to act more like a male osprey than a female osprey!
I watched the full YouTube video of Squirmy arrival , it really is funny !
Just re-watched utube…she was so surprised…..
OMG I remember that..she did not know what to do…she actually was afraid of her little one…again George was there for her…
I remember that, too! It was hysterical…. best reaction ever!!
Jane was working in the nest cup and got tangled in the seaweed…
She looked like she tried biting it off then flew to perch…. she was up and down a few times….
George came in with a definite reaction! He looked like he couldn’t believe his eyes!
He was in and out a few times…
Jane flew down to back-up George with a fly-over…. had a short chat with hubby before he flew out.
Then she went for it! And she too will be released!
Pffshhhew! That was a little scary… 40 mins. of suspense!
That stick wasn’t George’s idea, for once! It was flipped by Jane’s tail…
Jane is determined to get this long sheet of seaweed in to the nest……. she pulls and pulls, til she finally grabs that stick and it all comes in…
Then we had an alert…. day is off to a running start!
At least the rain is over and we’re seeing sun… and maybe 70 degs.!!!
I’m beginning to get concerned about eggs for this nest this year. It is very late! It sure has been a strange year for osprey everywhere this year. I was hoping for a little calm and normalcy in these unusual times for humans! But that definitely is NOT happening!
Eggs have been laid later than this previous years…. I’m still hopeful. Not much we can do but watch. As you say, it’s been crazy everywhere
In 2018 the eggs were laid near the end of May…I know the 2nd. egg was laid on May 26th 2018…still hope…
Going by my pictures, I see 1,2,3, on 5/23….5/26….5/29
I hunted thru old pics and found a few to share…
I also found I have way toooooo many pics!
Foggy, rainy morning………. GM, G & J
George brought in a nice whole fish, which he sat on…Jane looked at him…. is that for me?????
She grabbed it carefully before going…
Hit 63 today…and lots of sunshine!
57 now and dropping to 52 under cloudy skies, with rain possibilities after midnight; hopefully ending in early morning.
Tomorrow- partly sunny and may reach close to 70!
Thank you for pictures….I may not comment daily…I view all the time..
Always glad to hear from you!
Now this IS George…. maybe he needs a toupe for a growing bald spot! It doesn’t explain why Jane went after him a few times earlier. Maybe she was telling him she had the nest covered, he needed to fish!
Anyhow, a nice dinner fish…
I think “Romeo” was back…. When Jane flew in, I had heard scrabbling on the perch and a shadow from there as Jane flew in. She seemed uneasy and this bird flew off.
A little later, Jane got back=up against an intruder, but she seemed unsure…. she pushed this guy with her chest and gave him the hairy-eyeball.
They both flew out but this guy stopped back… I think it’s the male I nick-named Romeo….with the ) on his head…
Is this nest ever settling down!
@13:24… Lunch came and went….. George is being followed. He stopped briefly at the nest and Jane helped him yell.
Then that beautiful fish and George took off, to be seen over the bay with the pest.
Jane went to perch to wait.
@14:02…. George is back with what’s left of that beautiful fish! He must have been hungry! He has been working hard…
Jane is just happy as she dances him in… see ya later!
Think Jane is hungry! She’s in full yammer… George still on guard duty
George was eying Jane on the perch….
He flew out and around and the camera started rockin’! Don’t come a’knockin’!
But someone did and both birds dropped to the nest, alarming… there seems to be a lot of activity in fly-bys without them coming too close.
There was breakfish @6:36, which I missed.
This isn’t what you think…. George was on perch and used Jane as a stepstool, including a solid step on her head! She just shook it off!
Tough broad !
Both birds have been working on the nest…. Jane did some rearranging while George brings in a big branch…
All work and no play….. our George is not a dull boy!
Sunset at OZ…. Jane headed up about 7:35…
It’s dropping rapidly from 57 as the sun goes… Should hit 43 by dawn. Mostly clear skies tonight and a sunny tomorrow! Thank you, Ms. May! Might even go over 60 !
A little more seaweed can’t hurt!
George arrives to no Jane in nest and no yapping….
Maybe Jane was napping on the perch, because he glanced up there…
Jane happily comes down for that nice headless fish…
She carefully adjusted her claws to get a good hold before taking off!
Jane trailed some of that balloon ribbon after her but it’s still stuck…
Just realized there was a fish delivery @15:26…. was feeling sorry that Jane hadn’t been fed midday…. but George is on the job!
Jane had a mild reaction to this bird going by…..hoping it’s George heading nearby to eat his fish head
Jane dropped from the perch when the intruder was spotted. Lots of yelling
It flew right in front of the nest and both birds jumped for it…. Flapping wings all over the place….
George brings home another tree. He’s in nestorating mode…… Jane is begging from the perch
George shows up @11:23 with a somewhat beat-up looking fish, but Jane’s not fussy!
This can’t be good… Jane is back in 10 mins. with seaweed…. did she gobble it or lose it? Never know…
I thought George might be coming in because Jane was doing the fish plead vocals.
In the meantime, she did a half-hearted jump after someone, but came right back…. I could hear George not too far away with his alarm call back-up
I guess the bathroom got moved upstairs……
Carol– those pictures are very interesting!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all the pictures and info. It is appreciated . After all the drama, are we looking at the original Jane and George??? Hope to see eggs really soon. Thanks again.
Yes, we are watching the original George, and Jane, she returned on May 1st.
Checked back and found moonrise…..
Breakfish is early today!
There must be an early intruder…. George is alarming and Jane is back…. she still has her fish…. she popped up to perch and back before leaving again…