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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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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
Missy is on watch……
9:06….. Second Breakfish!
Take it to go… says TY before she flies………….
Do we know who the female is? Some folks are calling her Jane, others Missy. Is she a new female or one from past seasons? The intruder female with the darker necklace is the one that resembles Jane.
Hi Peggy, she appears to be a new female.
Monday, Monday…..Gonna have a windy morning..18mph.. but sunny and 50s.
Morning, George .
Morning, Jane (G just left after a quickie)
Our couple trying to wake up
It looks like Missy is so hangry. she’s going to nip George from the sky…..
Fortunately, breakfish was a biggie. George wasn’t even fully on the nest when Missy was taking that fish!
She sat at the edge for a few beats, yelling, so I guess someone was around. Then off she went.
Missy was back…. George has been working, with several deliveries. since she left. She looked around and went up to perch.
Here comes George, flapping wings and flapping plastic……
Missy adds her 2 cents…
This was cute… 2 headed osprey
The early bird gets…..
Almost full moon rising….
Have a good night.
@7:00 pm… George brought another big fish which Missy is in a hurry to take. She couldn’t grab with first tries, so she switched feet and out…..
@16:54…. late lunch! George brings a big headless fish, which Missy hustled out of there…
George has an itch he can’t quite reach….
George has another annoying stick, getting it in place, when Missy returned with leftovers.
He decides to take the fish. When he returns, he still has the tail.
Missy decides to go for a run.
………. Almost as soon as Missy left………………. POOF……….
This Fe only stayed a moment… George flapped and fussed but didn’t go after her.
No, George,,, PLEASE, NO! At least it’s sort of off to the side…
I never saw a fish delivery this afternoon. Missy is begging…..
I think Missy is lobbying for lunch…… she tries chatting……
Puts her tail under him and flips the snoozing boy off balance…
Then goes naxt to him and bumps in to him several times…. Accidental? Hmmmmmmmm.
Just when I’m thinking, hope they don’t build higher…….
….. George adds…..
Fortunately, most is getting moved to the right.
Both working on nest……………….. Missy brings a rafter; George provides some carpeting
Pest hanging around… G went after it, while Missy held down the nest.
Found on Montana Ospreys at Hellgate . Interesting.
George has been working…. more sticks, lots of soggy seaweed.
The rain comes thru in bands and he just sits in between clear patches…. Think Missy is on perch…. he glances up there.
Rain is supposed to pass by and we should have a clear afternoon.
Yes, Missy is on perch… George visited and everything rocked….
Hello on a dreary Sunday morning….
Missy and George arrive, greet and he’s out.
He’s back in about 1/2 hr with a good sized breakfish. Without a lot of fuss, Missy is off with it.
Missy came back with fish.
George was right behind her…. just realized how true that was…..
Then the picture as misery, sitting while the drops run off her.
And even on a rainy Sunday, they don’t get a day off.
It was a dark and stormy night…….let’s see what today’s story line is!
Just a moment ago…. if the camera is a’rockin! Points out where Missy is…
Can someone tell me where the ospreys go at night ???
They overnight in trees
Speculating…. It seems like Missy is on the perch up by the camera. Last night, it looked like George went there too, but we think he may sleep in nearby trees. And take his fish there when he eats.
JOY: Did you notice there was a hopeful male stopping in today….. would that be a manage a quatre?
Oh no! Enough drama as it is.
Apropos of that, though, I was once told (don’t know if it’s true) that the Chinese word/symbol for “trouble” depicts two women under one roof.
The wife and the concubine ….. drama drama 😬
George brings a dinnerfish, waiting for Missy to come.
She keeps peeking to find the fish, then takes it to go,
George straightens the nest and heads to perch
Missy comes back with her fish and decides to join George.
Rain is in the forecast, starting after midnight. Temps. mid-high 40s.
“Not now, George…. it’s been a long day”….. as she shrugged him off with her wing.
OK, George, now……. her beak was not buried in the nest so she was just indulging him…..(;^}}
All too confusing…. I don’t have pics of all the ins and outs and can’t i.d. some of them. Just know George has a fish and is playing king of the hill with at least 2 females….
This may be Missy…. seemed to fly over perch….
Then George came , twice, with fish and looked around…
One female came in and George tried chasing her, with fish in foot
Another female, fish in foot, lands behind the stranger….. That female appeared darker than Missy but lighter than this one. There were at least 2 osprey flying…
Possibly a trick of lighting, because when Missy show up, she has a fish…
Both Missy and George on the nest, both with fish……..
This was all very confusing… way more action than this………. my eyes are crossed trying to figure this one out. Just know I’m not gonna try figuring out if there;s a 3rd female . All other females will just be the OTHER!
Not sure who this was…. think a male. Missy was not pleased with him. George came back right after that,
Is this grab a partner Saturday????? Crazy !
There’s too many birds ! I need name tags 😀
And a score card!!!!
Visitor not giving up yet……
I think George is the one chasing her out……
George took time to do some nestorating and she popped in as he left…. and chased again…
It’s become a merri-go-round….
George brought this lump earlier and plopped in the nest cup. Decided it needed to go.
Then, when our view was clear again, he stepped on a stick that rolled back in to view. Nice work, Mr. Muffin…
We are running neck and neck with barnegat….similar story line (aren’t all the soaps)
Seems even with ID…..trouble keeping score
The up islanders(patchoque and oyster bay) have eggs
Our out east pair are more “laid” back😜
Here they are doing the wild thing once again!
It ain’t over til it’s over……………………………… Missy gets hit solidly and knocked out of the nest
Someone has been flying around most of the morning……….
Reshot at .25 speed…little blurry…. the hit
Missy was back in seconds and no sign of blood.
Jane could still return!
Hey CarolV!…..what’s up with the stick?……I’m guessing George
Yes,,, our dear boy was at it again….. fortunately, it’s down for now.
In less than 4 mins., G goes from mating to bringing in a fish.
It looks “used” so I guess he could have stolen it….. It looked like him mating…….
Someone followed him and was circling so George took off.
The fish was headless and possibly missing part of the body…..
Thanx ,George…………. brilliant placement…
He had stopped in about 8:47, fishless…..
All her ducks in a row….. or geese… speedy buggers…
Dark Lady on nest. Dispatched by Missy. Enforced by George. When will this manage a trois end?
There is a lot of activity for sure ! George is quite a debonair dude !
George…. ever the busy boy!
Happy Saturday! GM, Missy! Hi, George!
There was a brief flyover…
And here’s breakfish!
George briefly played hard to get, til Missy says “Pretty please!”………………… and she’s out…..
Missy made a quick visit to the nest just after midnight….
Missy was back with her fish. An intruder does a flyover…. G went out after it and M went to finish eating.
Still being intruded upon…………..
Missy drops from perch and can barely sit still…
And someone approaches….
George takes off….
Missy takes off ………….
They head back, Missy waiting for George….. teamwork
And @17:25………… dinnerfish!
Uneventful… G brings fish and Missy drops from perch. She holds up the fish as if measuring it! Gets her grip and, after a word to G, is out.
It looks like the dark Lady has been wounded!
She sits to the right as someone – probably George- flew in to the perch.
He sits for a minute, then ushers her out…..
He’s back to perch and Missy flies in to chat.
As much as I would like the dark lady to leave them alone, I hope she heals and has a good life… with someone else…
I wouldn’t be surprised if she is wounded after the beat down Missy put on her yesterday. That was intense!
I also hope she will be ok, but just move on and accept defeat.
I’m a lot concerned about if Jane does return and the fights that could ensue between her and “Missy”!
Missy was fussing away at some unseen flyer….
Note the wing on the left… I believe that’s George heading for the perch…. (she wasn’t mad that he was up there) His shadow can be seen moving around..
Missy was really getting worked up. The bird-probably George- came off to chase the intruder. Becoming a good working partnership.
Slo-mo shot and enlarged… very blurry…. but it does look like a dark chest.
Way cool pics CarolV!
Thanks! Appreciate your humor!
Lunchfish!!!!Nice thick chunk of fish that Missy is happy to take away while George whets that beak………………
Missy came back with the fish tail…. she gobbled it down before George looked…
BEWARE the Shadow!!!!!
Fortunately, it was an intimidated shadow…..
Of course Bela doesn’t like the sunrise
He likes doing this
He was having some difficulty with the wind….he slid off but managed to finish the job
I was laughing at his determination! Had a job to do, dag nabbit! No matter how he slid….
George and his stick collection…
Missy was upstairs cheeping at George till she came down to guard… he backed her up.
Easter palm???? jk
The Oyster Bay female laid the pair’s second egg at 3:42 this morning. Both seen here at 5:57 am.
Always love the way they check out those eggs!
Happy Friday, George
Starting the day with a bang………..
G comes in with breakfish…. which Missy took
Someone landed on the right…… George just flapped his wings; Missy had her feet full. ( love that face as she sits there perplexed… should I stay or should I go?) Intruder sat right there …..
Finally, Missy took off left and the intruder flew out, too.
George happily nestorated, bringing a new stick to arrange and mating several times after Missy got back.
Flyovers continue to irritate Missy…………… at one point, there were at least 3 osprey over the bay- maybe George is out there patrolling
Winds continue @ 20mph tapering off late day; temps rising to 55
Scrolled through today’s posts ; omg so much drama and well captured photos ! Missy is one feisty broad and doesn’t mind getting into fisticuffs 👊🏻. George will mate with any female that pops in yet he helps Missy in kicking intruders out 😂. He wants all the cake !
At least she’s getting the fish! And I loved that she got her own fish this a.m.! If it’s possible for a bird to have an expression, I would say G looked chagrined !
George is feeding Missy very well! And she’s happy to take it!
They seem to be bonding well…. saw them sitting side by side, leaning in to each other. They’ve spent a good amount of time this afternoon, just sitting on the nest….. talons crossed!
Thought there was an egg in the Oyster Bay osprey nest. If there was, there isn’t one now.
It’s there, go back to 5:07 pm, you will see it…
Afternoon fish delivery….. Missy was happy to see it and paused before taking off, to have a chat at George.
Wonky feather alert……
Happy 🌎 day!
Clearing pics again…. Our SQUIRMY…. looking well fed! And Jane
That did not go well…. try again
Dozing off together….. love it!
Paula…. just found this one of the storm and the gang hiding under Gracie while the future Rocky gets fed by George…..7/01/2016. TY to Betsy for pointing out where to find.
Apologies to OZ and TRS as I must have snipped off credit line.
I remember that..the 2 bullies were under Moms wing…afraid to go out…but brave Rocky was the smart one..
S/he was very smart! She survived those rowdy sibs!
Thank you CarolV and Betsy,
This was what I remembered. It was so sweet. Little Bit (Rocky) just couldn’t get anything to eat and George saved the day that day. That seemed to be a turning point for Little bit too, he really started to assert himself and get in there to eat. All 3 fledged that year.
Just Love George and sure miss Gracie!
George fed them often! He’s an amazing dad!
When does everyone feel her first egg will be laid? I am guessing around the 27th…
The 25th popped in my head….don’t know if possible with all the rumble in the nest!…or who
George the two timer(possibly others) mated with both!
Jane could still show up!
So I’m guessing your guess June c
I’ll guess April 30
It’s crazy windy…..21-22mph from the west. Temp slowly creeping to 40 and maybe a rousing 46 later…. got some interesting clouds.
One good thing…… that annoying branch has been removed from in front of lens. Not sure if we should thank the wind or the earlier Rural Rumble in the Nest.
George was peacefully enjoying snackfish when he exited right as Lady flew in left….
A very angry Missy came from the perch and put a hurtin’ on Lady! She was on her back, beatinn’ the feathers off her…. She tried biting the “elbow ” of her wing, but fortunately she only bit a stick. I think Lady was lucky Missy didn’t get a grip on that joint!
Missy has definitely laid claim.
I’d like to think Lady gets the hint but……………………….. we’ll see
The Jane lookalike landed and that did not go well with the female, she attacked her. Hopefully, she will not return.
Missy spent at least part of the night on the nest….. maybe that wind drove her off perch.
Both on nest, chatting
Missy celebrated Earth Day by catching her own fish!!!
Missy was out when George showed with a big headless fish…..
She came back with her fish and they just stood, Each now has a fish
Missy was on the nest when she got unwanted company….
She had the fish in her foot and couldn’t repel her.
George to the rescue!!!! He hit the unwanted bird(Lady?) with his fish! And off she went.
Missy still feels the need sound off about the ordeal.
Snacks for later….
………………………………………………….. HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!!!!!!!!!………………………………………………….
Here comes trouble!!
His and hers fish 🐟 🐟
And there goes trouble…
Incoming…don’t know who….but off they go
George brings partially eaten fish
Did she catch this?
George returns….sat quietly waiting for a taker
She appears with her fish
Bela is back
Someone is sitting on the nest….could there be an egg?…..tune in later
Circled area is head
Not now George!
Anyone tuning into today’s episode….same story line
If an egg gets laid…hope it survives!
Missy seems to be hanging around in the nest.
She came down to do some furniture placement. Now she’s back, swaying in the wind. Wind seems to have even picked up from earlier….20+mph NW; 45 dropping to 37 later. April?
George stops by to say goodnight…..
Was glued to this household for most of the afternoon and on into the evening. Most interesting behavior exhibited by George and, I believe entirely, by Missy both of whom flew into and out of nest separately and together more times than I could count and indulged in lots of coupling and fish stealing. Don’t really know much about osprey behavior. But could this mean that the trio has finally become a pair?
If no others show up, they likely will be a pair. But that dark female might not be so quick to leave just yet…
WOW! They look gorgeous against that sea/sky!
Posted all 3 shots as they watch in unison…….
Love the contrast…looks fake
Thanks for today’s pics 😊
Forgot to post this earlier……. George trying out nose jewelry….
Dinner arrives and the customer has left…..
And he’s back! She was ready and waiting! Missy couldn’t get her beak on it fast enough!
Happy to see her getting a good claw on it.
She was back in less than 15mins. and still seems hungry, judging by the yapping..
Storm passed thru…. wind almost blew one of George’s shells out but stopped at Missy’s feet
You can see hail on her back…..
Missy started flapping then intruder came in from left….
Two footed drop kick took her out over the side but a quick u-ee and she’s back…
Think she’s looking for the waiter…. she’s been ordering loudly.
I saw George come at least twice with a fish, and her in , in between, but I didn’t see them connect while he had the fish.
They had connected here about 15 mins earlier
One of my favorite photos ever! I would like to give credit but I must have just screenshot-ed it. I know it wasn’t me. Anyone with a memory out there? 6/22/2016
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
I don’t know who posted this but you just gave me such a laugh! I was just talking to my husband about this the other night. I can’t wait for him to get home so I can show him.
That was the best year ever. If you could find a picture of George feeding Little Bit, I don’t remember the official name he was given, during the thunder storm I would LOVE that. That was the moment I remember the most and the moment George became my hero!
Credit goes to Elizabeth Raftery…..
our Missy after the lady
It’s gotten very windy and I’m getting thunderstorm warnings, with lightning strikes within 12 miles.
Probably rain later today then windy days Thursday and maybe Friday.
Been looking at highlight pics. She does look a lot like Gracie!
Are you sure you’re not looking at George? Gracie was lightly speckled on the chest and head markings were similar to his. And she had a very distinctive spot mid-side on the right that always told us it was her.
George is much more speckled than he has been in previous seasons
In about 1/2 min,. we had G deliver a stick, Lady touch down and Missy go by so fast I barely caught her in slo=mo…
George “bows” to Lady and mounts her
cheezit… her again… takin’ off
as Missy comes back
And so we go…. can hear cheeping as I post…. gonna be a long day because I don’t think anyone is giving up….. and George is no help
Hope Missy defends her nest,,looks like she is not going to give up…
And sheeeee’s baaaa-ack……
Wednesday morning…. and the drama continues…
Shadow in the dark ……………..
….turns out to be the dark Lady…… she takes off.
When George brought the extra early fish, look who just beat him in ……. Missy.
But he’s back to holding on to the fish and takes off. She’s sitting, waiting now.
When Missy left, G came back…. as soon as she followed him in, off he went.
And…. he’s back…..
He finally gave up the fish and I think this is Missy. She dropped from the perch and sounded like her. As the Nest Turns,,, next episode.
Missy’s back…. and time to pay for breakfish
The early bird gets…….well we know what they got yesterday…….George..the busy boy!
Someone swooped thru just above nest level….. so danged fast! The Lady went out almost backwards and can be seen in a chase…
Could that be…Gracie?