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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
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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 Savannah Osprey nest on Cornell camera’s has a chick as of this morning!
Finally some sun today…it seems that J2 is going to be the protector of the nest….
I think most of the fly-overs are females, which G doesn’t normally respond to. It does seem like Her has spent more time in the nest today
Missy brought some fish leftovers for later. George has been nestorating , bringing in seaweed and sticks.
He’s looking a little more comfortable with her.
George was in @5:20, checking and out..
Missy in @5:45..
G brought breakfish @5:51, nice big whole fish…. let the games begin….
The waiting game… G took fish 🐟 to behead….
Female in and out, ticktock ticktock as she surfs the skies….
Missy even brought several clumps of seaweed to trade, but G decided he needed some more.. hungry work lugging that in and out!
Finally about 6:45, he came in and handed-footed?- it over with no ceremony.
I think she’s getting tired of the games! I know I would be.
I’m just wondering if he is just really waiting for Jane? I know he’s mated with this female but “A man is a man is a man”.
Moving in for dinnerfish….
Afternoon fish 🐟 and no one to share it…
I love how he flies in and out with his fish…..
Do you think he cruises the neighborhood hoping to spot his lady and entice her home?
G is back and you can tell She is near…. and time for keep away…
She keeps flying out, riding the winds nearby…. pretty windy!
Finally, after more than a dozen patient waits, She squawked and rammed a shoulder into him and got her fish… he had started eating it, so guess that was it!
Someone else was out over the water…
He’s such a handful !
Maybe this is “flirting”???
About 11:20ish, lot of activity, bouncing in and out of nest, chasing and vocals, both near and far…
G tries bringing in sticks, between chasing a probable male that has touched in briefly
Incoming defensive…. lots of vocals outside nest too…
Today is the first day I noticed that George is standing side by side with J2…
From welcome to the nest to WELCOME !!!
We have breakfish!
A little drama…
She goes for it but he’s playing….
….tipping as he pulled away…
But he’s right back and Missy rushed in… too hangry for games!
When I checked in, Missy’s in, waiting. George had been in just after 5:30, with her right behind….
Someone came in with a fish and , although she studied it, she didn’t take and out he went.
I’m thinking this isn’t George
@6:13 George brought a wad of seaweed and attempted mating… Fe looked cooperative
G out again
George is in the wad delivering mode. Fe is asking politely for breakfish….. wonder if she told him about the delivery man?
All G has on his mind is delivering muddy seaweed wads and mating with each trip.
Where’s the breakfish???
Bottoms up and a quickie on the way out….
The sun is coming up…and so is someone’s tail!
Don’t think this is j2
Should have a egg any day
Pics of chick that’s been on the receiving end of George this morning
Pic of j2
George’s behavior is different than anything I’ve ever seen. I understand the mantling but to mate with her and then play keep away with the fish is befuddling. I am also probably wrong about this, but I think the female is sky dancing for George. I’ve never heard of a female doing that, only males or couples together.
This has already been a strange year and it hasn’t even really started!
Guarding the nest in unison
Back to mr.moody……really George..after the lusty morning you had…still giving the cold shoulder!
They must all be napping 💤
Nap time over
Goodness…who is who at this point….really wishing we could see the chests,pardon…Seems at this last nest togetherness no mantling but no togetherness yet…wishing I had the experience to differentiate…still such a great experience…kudos to the great folks here who can give more photos and insights…👏
And me yelling…”turn and face the camera “ isn’t working!
I think I heard you! I was yelling too! And…”George! Stop smushing her face in the nest!”
George was playing keep away, as usual….
But the female got crafty…. she flew out over him and circled around, coming in from behind to swoop in, grabbing the fish on her way through!
G was back about 13:26 with another fish….. the fog has definitely lifted!
Feeling like I’m watching Osprey soap opera 🙄😊
Yes….and it may be the same story line for the nest week!😜
👏👏🤗,Isabella,thanks for the giggles!
Kinda glad for this rainy day;happily glued to OZ happenings,so more entertaining than the TV channels..Again,major shout outs to our landlords and Mary Anne and all OZ crew 👏😘
Thank you, Patty!
Yoohoo!!! Anyone home? I brought someone to lunch!
Mr. Muffin showing how handsome he is as the winds pick up. Some nest work as the osprey soirée seems to be over for now.
I don’t know about you CarolV, but I think that big stick won!
He did have quite a fight with it!
Speaking of my eyes…thought this was a egg
Three on a nest….dance card is full…scorecard is confusing…and George is sowing his wild oats!
The three were in and out…flying around…alerting
Then George was at it again! And again…she was not receptive maybe she’s calling it a day George
My guess is these two players are George and j2
Lol,Isabella,with the rain and fog it’s hard to tell!Wishing the Missy would turn around towards the cam.Could it be that the female with the heavy necklace is trying to occupy the nest?My eyes are trying to decipher if the other is J2; thinking that maybe G is ok with J2 but mantling with the other?
I don’t know PattyK….they were soaking wet…matted down and moving all around…it was like the shell game…figuring which cup the ball is under
I thought the one with the heavy necklace might be Jane
and I have to leave!!
Delivery…. tug of fish and out… female stopped back before disappearing with fish….
Was a little confusing in the fog. G had just left minutes before and I thought fish was headless but it looks like it was just semi-detached
G not wasting any time! And made second attempt on his was out.
These two are definitely comfortable together…
Snd he’s at it again! Not losing any time now!
Female is getting wear marks on her back….
G is hanging around nest and making up for lost time!
George decides on a quickie
Then someone else gives it a shot….she is not receptive…George doesn’t defend
He had two tries
George has another go
She was not receptive….enough is enough
Back to mr moody
Of course you have breakfish after…..a little tug of war….she wins and flies off
Threes a crowd….anyone’s guess….mr moody on the right?
Ok. Guessing one in the middle a female…George gets busy
Other female ?…chases her off
Osprey on left had a fish
Back to square one…but with who?……between all the action…fog, rain and my eyes…can’t tell
The other osprey that is(two tries)
And then this happened..George on the right.
George not wasting time.
I just checked the weather forecast here on the site, and it looks like it might be challenging for George to impress any female with fish. At least at times.
What happened to putting the comment section at the top of the page? I feel like I miss so much to post a comment!
George showed just before 6, followed shortly by this girl. Tho still mantling, he seemed more familiar with her, and she seems comfortable here.
When another bird flew over, she backed G up defending the nest.
She’s rearranging the nest while G is out. She’s too damp from the fog to get an id but I’m hopeful we know her
I’m thinking J2
Excuse me… what????
The real George just made an attempt to mate and She seems receptive
G in with fish, waiting
The Fe shows up
And gets fish 🐟 to go…
She came back to say “TY, handsome!” And out again
Wish I could get a better angle…
George in with a fish; and out…
Female, not guessing, in and out
G and fish back. Stayed awhile; out
This is definitely a new female.
Took phone shot of computer screen to get this shot of that female. She’s been in a couple of times…
Sorry about quality.
This was another one who stopped by…
Just had a chance to check in today. So glad to see, spring has sprung, and our birds are coming back trying to settle in.
We are playing guessing games again as to whom is really here! George is a yes…. female still subject to change! Aggravating!
George is back to working on the nest….
did scroll back…. looks like last of fish went about 11:00…..
Still not seeing female…
Someone stopped in but I’m headed out. No time to study
There was some activity with at least 2 osprey flying around. One was. Probably male and not welcome…..
Talk about the cold shoulder routine,several times Missy landed in nest and George’ continued to mantle,geeze….not looking good for togetherness…
George has a fish for Missy but I haven’t seen her. He’s been in at least 2x since 6:54 and just left again.
Maybe she got tired of the cold-shoulder from him and decided to look elsewhere. He really didn’t seem to like her!
I’m sure that as soon as I write this she will probably show up! These birds love to prove me wrong!
Always! It was kind of 1/2 hearted. She took fish sometimes, others it was keep away.
It had seemed like she shrugged him off when he tried mating. 🤨😟🥺
Still waiting…. he’s back still lugging fish…
Not making me happy!
He does seem very lonely. I hope Jane doesn’t take as long as she did last year to get there.
Over the past couple of years…have seen osprey fly over sometimes with a fish…or stick
This year it seems one has chosen the tree behind my garage to eat their fish
This time I looked up in time to see her fly to the tree….she couldn’t relax and enjoy it because 3 osprey came after her….one divebombed her
Then they were all flying around…..don’t know if they were after the fish or her….then a fifth joined them…..it is really something to see behavior outside of the nest area….I’m guessing I won’t see this after they settle down with chicks
Wish I could have gotten pics of them all…but they were going so fast!
How exciting, Isabella! I would be looking up in that tree all day long!
Isabella– thanks for sharing this story. You are lucky to see something like this. When it happens so fast, there isn’t time to get all the action.
Does anyone remember when Jane showed up last year? I know it was late.
Paula, she showed up on May 1st.
Thank you, Mary Anne. I knew it was late, but I didn’t think it was that late.
You’re welcome, Paula. Have a good night, everyone.
10:30ish….. activity around nest with at least 3 osprey in the air….
About 10:30…. G on guard when someone trampolines thru behind him.
Lots of vocals, especially when G moves to perch and scrabbling is heard as the camera shakes. Chasing and calling continues
Things quiet down and they pause for a date… She’s chatting quietly
Osprey in the mist
Mr Moody Mantler ….have fish will fly
Mr moody let’s her take the fish
George’s dance move….the egg bowl smush!
Two can play at this game!
Nobody took the prize
George on duty early! Foggy Friday breakfish is taken to go, with happy squeals from Missy…
George was in before 6am….left about 6:02.
He was back about 2 minutes later with a whole fish, with Her flying in simultaneously.
George didn’t hand it over until he had a share.
Another fish! Definitely offered….
Lonely… I’m Mr Lonely… I’ve got no head to call my own 🎶🎶🎶
I don’t know if George is pining for Jane….or just not into this chick
She seems to want to stay…when can she get a proper name?
It’s a rocky beginning… seems when he tries, She shrugs him off. But at least the morning fish gets delivered today
George’s mood swings
The osprey behind the curtain is……..
Where did he go with the fish?
And back to Mr. Moody
Mantling in N J
She has a fish….he says” ha ha…you’re not going to get this one!
George has been in and out several times with this fish 🐠.
This time, it looked like he was turning it over to Her but then turned back and reclaimed it, proceeding to eat it all. …. despite Missy having a lot of comments.
She made her opinions clear before she left.
I don’t think he likes her! I saw him grab the fish and turn away to eat it and he is not sharing this morning either. I really don’t think he likes her!
Another fish? No interest…She takes off.
And the fish stands alone….🎶🎶
About 1:25pm, She was back for the lonely fish…. George dropped down for a quick attempt before she took off.
Do you think birds like other wildlife grieve? Watching George…….
I think nature is more pragmatic…. some animals seem to grieve but I think if procreating is on the front burner, other issues are pushed aside….
Remember the old song… When you’re not with the one you love, love the one you’re with…
10:18….. G brings in another fish, which She drops down to claim…….. fattening Her up!
Is it just me or is there A LOT of sticks in this nest?
At least no more plastic bags, swim goggles or even stuffed animals! G is playing it straight organic so far!
That’s very true. Gracie LOVED her some plastic! That is one thing I like about Jane, she prefers natural nesting material.
Don’t know if osprey that flew over was j2….she appeared just after….thought I would witness morning magic….George played hard to get….she got fed up and left
She tries again…offers George a stick on his “cold” shoulder…..
Gave him plenty of opportunity
Just before George came in, another osprey approached from the right but flitted off as George came from the left.
He did a lot of swivel necking, looking off to the right, checking out who was there….
Now it’s business as usual….
Chicken necking! Knew there was a term for that movement!
Good Morning OZ – George brings a nice fish for this lady!
Shadow in the nest as early as 4:45. When sun came up. there was George. Female came in a little later. They were both in and out.
About 6:36am, George brought a headless fish. She wasn’t shy about asking for it and George turned it over without hesitation……. sounds like progress!!
Off She went with breakfish to go.
George did some nestorations and She was back in maybe 7:10ish.
4:49pm…. G brings a fish; Missy came in to check it out but G was playing keep away
She moves in; G leaves fish and attempts mating
She shrugged him off and while he was gone, she moved in for fish
A little bait and switch!
She shrugged him off and grabbed the 🐟
G made one more attempt before she took off
Looks like a double post…things froze
This looked like progress…
Until he jumped on her and away she flew…. with some sharp chirps
What’s with the continued mantling from George….a strange beginning I haven’t seen at OZ before,Ms OZ queen keeps coming back but George is still displaying a coveted scene?v
Patty, I think George might be a little uncomfortable yet. Maybe he is waiting for Jane. This will pass eventually.
Thanks Mary Anne,will hope that they both settle down for a prosperous season!
Sighhhhhh…. feels like a poke in the eye 👁
Her just dashed out, probably to chase another female?
She’s bouncing in and out like she owns the place
Patiently waiting for George to share
George offered a fish to Her which she studied carefully.
When she didn’t take it, G took it back .
He’s eating it now as she watches
She just grabbed it…. sharing is caring!
IRIS has returned to Hellgate. I’m SOOOOOO Happy she returned!!!
I was pretty excited when I saw her! She’s right on time!
George delivers seaweed and waits for applause.
Female has been in and sounded like she was on perch for a bit.
Already rearranging…..George doing his Bela Lugosi
Osprey attempts to land…8:02 am
Looks like a male…maybe she left his nest for George’ S
Female was in briefly but was hard to tell if she came from perch or flew in…
video is acting up and dreaded circle ⭕️ is in….
George went to the perch…someone joined him…then I lost the feed…maybe j2 changed her mind!
Tried to post it…lost connection…..anyway, hopefully a union just in time! 🤞👍🥳
George seems to be doing a lot of manteling every time the “Jane”/The Jane? is in the nest. Like he is protecting the space and not wanting to interact.
Am I missing something?
This is very common, Gina. Males even mantle when they reunite with long time mates that they haven’t seen since the previous fall. He’s mated with her at least once that we saw. Also heard them above on the perch last night.
Mary Anne…..even though I have seen this as you state…over the years and across other nests… I could not find any info other then….to protect their food
I tried googling…why birds mantle….osprey mantling….osprey mating rituals….frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for!
Tried osprey mantling again and voila!
Isabella, that Puleston nest is the very first cam I watched, in 2006. Great cam, great bunch of people in that forum. I lived 20 mins from the nest and Dennis Puleston’s wife, Betty, invited the forum members over to her property for a picnic. We went up into the barn loft and we were able to watch the nest, see the fledglings and the parents. It was wonderful to see in person, the chicks we had watched grow up. Sadly the cam is no longer there, it was fun while it lasted.
And a happy ending….
Missy came down from perch and has headed back .
And now G headed up and the perch is a’rockin’!
G has time to make up!
Omg the salacious factor to this post is hilarious 😂
not much help…. just love the shot….[:^}
One of several attempts to take over nest
And original Jane
1 more J2….
Well that just proves I’m wrong again! This girl has a much darker necklace and more pronounced.
At least George wasn’t all alone today!
Another look at her.
Bingo @7:36pm! Watching with such fascination the mantling,courtship doings,andQueen Oz is 💕 lovely,such a beautiful necklace 👏👏😘
Just wondering why my comments are always waiting moderation for so long….just want to shout out and enjoy this special moment with OZ family ASAP
Sometimes my comments wait moderation until I refresh the page… I sometimes miss incoming comments because I’m too busy watching and posting and don’t refresh…
It looks like George is Ignoring her…
Males often do that even with mates they have been with for years. Especially when they first arrive. He’s mantling, protecting his nest. It’s funny because when the female leaves, he looks for her.
Lovely picture 😊
Thank you, Trinity!
Yes she is beautiful. Fingers crossed….
Looks like j2. She has a crisper necklace..and that bewildered look…she is pretty…if Jane doesn’t show up…hope she stays!
Female was on the nest with George and this osprey in the distance wanted to land, could not tell who it was.
The one that tried to land looked like a male to me. I didn’t see a necklace.
That’s not Jane, but there is another that wants to come land…
Saw that… hopefully not another war zone
Not sure who but she accepted the fish 🐟
Now she’s rearranging furniture…
And some chatting
The courting process 😍
I wonder if it’s Jane2! I remember looking at her last year and thinking her necklace looked like chains of hearts and this girls looks the same.
13:37 I think Jane is back!
Paula, hope I am wrong, but her head looks much to light. Jane was darker on her head and she also had dark eyebrow markings.
See her her head? Jane’s is different.
You’re probably right. I went through some of the videos and Janes necklace isn’t as crisp as this lady’s either. I was just so excited to see someone with George!
Is this J2?
It sure looks like her. He tried to mount her…
George is going to attempt mount any female who hangs out there long enough.
I’m not seeing it, what do you think, Carol?
He must be so lonely.
Lunch, anyone??? Anyone????
Looks like the same fish….guessing he’s leaving it to entice a mate?……they usually eat off nest….my theory is to keep the nest as pest free as possible
Of course that’s impossible when chicks come !
Question for Mary Anne
What happens if George remains mate less? 🙁
I’m still holding out for the window of opportunity…but it seems to be closing
If George remains without a mate this year, he will hang around here all spring and summer. But mostly off nest, and we won’t see him much. He will get the urge to migrate at the usual time.
6:18 am…osprey flies in low, checking George out.
G hauls in another small tree. He’s wrestling it in place, of course straight to the Great Wall towards the front…..
George was up early… has been in and out, decorating, hoping for that certain ambiance.
Here he is, chatting with the fairies. Asking for dating advice?
Sitting in my backyard with the hubby…he’s telling me about seeing the osprey on the way home driving through Oakdale…. I said when are we going to the arboretum?…probably will see osprey there
Then I looked up and saw this female eating huge fish!..wish I had looked up sooner and saw her fly to the tree!
The crow was chattering and flying around her…thought because she was in his territory…but it seemed it was because she had food
Other birds flew around…landed near her chattering….she paid them no mind!…..after she left..another one flew over the house…wondering if they are the patchoque pair?
What fun! I see them flying over the house, especially later in the season when juveniles are just leisurely circling. But never saw in the trees!
Hopefully Jane will arrive soon….there is still a window of opportunity…..if she doesn’t..hope she is safe and just decided on a different mate
Wonder what happened to J2?
Perfect pic and caption!!!
Thank you, Isabella!
Mating at 4/08/21…6:10am