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An Intro to OspreyZone
The Story of DDT
Bald Eagles Visit Nest
Ospreyzone Highlights: May 21-29, 2020
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March 18, 2016 Timelapse
The Summer of 2015 by GinaM
Osprey Rescue Extended - July 30, 2015
Osprey Zone Highlights - June 28, 2015
Osprey Zone Highlights - June 19, 2015
osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
Changing of the Guard
Breakfast is Served
Let's Hang Out
Hard to Get
Dinner is Served
OspreyZone Highlights: George Returns
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Special Thanks to Tommy and Christina: George & Gracie’s Landlords
Written by Dr. Rob Bierregaard & Illustrated by Kate Garchinsky
Take flight with Belle, an osprey born on Martha’s Vineyard as she learns to fly and migrates for the first time to Brazil and back–a journey of more than 8,000 miles.
IMPORTANT: Messages from osprey experts
I haven’t seen the little guy yet this morning, but I would be very surprised if he survived the night. That sure was tough to watch yesterday, but that whole process is as much a part of the essence of being an Osprey as is eating a fish. It’s part of the life of Ospreys that was rarely seen before we started putting cameras in nests. As hard as it is, we should not label the behavior as mean or cruel. Being mean or cruel implies that there is intent to do harm just for harm’s sake. Those young were responding to a set of stimuli (very little food being delivered to the nest and the presence of a very small young) in a way that evolution has hard-wired into them. It helps ensure their survival. Nature is not cruel. It is harsh, unforgiving, and often random (had the little guy been born 1st, he would have been just as aggressive as was his sibling), but not cruel or mean.
Paul Henry ospreyzone July 1, 2015 at 8:17 am
Thanks Rob for bringing your knowledge and experience to help us all gain perspective here. We are all saddened by the events that unfolded before our eyes and it’s only natural for all of us to feel and express our emotions appropriately. There have been many issues pertaining to intervention which have been discussed amongst us all. There is no doubt in my mind that the right decision was made, to let nature take it’s course. By the way, that doesn’t equate to heartless, on the contrary, nobody feels worse about this then the apparent decision makers. I say apparent, because when all was said and done, and all the issues were properly weighed, there really weren’t any other options. It was clearly pointed out, by experts, that intervening at this stage could have spooked the whole nest to the point of losing all the young. If the little one was saved, and nursed back to health, what kind of a life would it have had, perhaps caged up in a zoo. I remember when I was younger I saw a golden eagle in captivity, caged behind a wire mesh. I could practically see it’s tears. As far as placing the little one in another nest, such a low probability of success would never have justified the possibility of spooking the nest. There’s a piece of me, however heavy hearted, that believes that perhaps it is better to be born free and die free. We mourn for the little one as we marvel at the wonders of nature.
Thanks for your query, and you have my admiration for persevering. We know very well how tough your job is, including dealing with an anxious public.
Our policy with our Bird Cams project is essentially “just say no” to pleas for interference. The behavior you are witnessing – while seemingly cruel and heartless to us – is natural for many kinds of birds, especially those that feed on variable, unpredictable food supplies. The little nestling does have a chance to survive, but if it does not then that result was “meant to be” by the nature of Osprey breeding strategy. The wonderful things about these nest cameras also sometimes yield the difficult things for us to watch. As you might know, we actually post a “siblicide alert” on some of our cams where we suspect the possibility exists.
I’m copying your note to Charles Eldermire, project leader for our Bird Cams. He may have some additional comments, and he would be the one to ask if we might be able to use your stored files for biological analysis.
Best wishes, and good luck,
John W. Fitzpatrick
Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
It’s also important to acknowledge that intervening can also cause problems of its own—depending on the ages of the birds in the nest, disturbing them can trigger an early fledge. We have restricted the scenarios in which we would even consider intervening to injuries or dangers that are explicitly human-derived. For example, 3 or 4 years ago we were alerted by viewers that one of the osprey chicks at the Hellgate Osprey nest was entangled in monofilament line. We consulted with our partners there (wildlife biologists, raptor researchers, raptor rehabbers) to determine if the monofilament was an issue, and if intervening was both likely to solve the issue AND not have bad effects on the other nestlings. In the end, a quick trip to the nest was scheduled via a bucket truck, the monofilament was removed, and the nestlings all eventually fledged. In that case, all of the permits were already in hand to be studying the ospreys, and we had already discussed how to approach issues in the nest.
Good luck to the young one—hope it all turns out well.
Bird Cams Project Leader
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
I’ve been to your site—great cam! And I noticed the runt in the nest. This is just normal Osprey reproduction. It happens all the time and you should not intervene. It’s tough to watch, but it’s how nature works. Ospreys almost always lay 3 eggs and on average fledge between 1 and 1.5 young each year. They stagger the hatch so there is a spread of ages in the young. That way, if food is short, the first-hatched (and therefore largest) will get enough food to survive while the smaller nest mates do not. If all three young were the same size and there was only enough food for 1 young, none of the young would get enough food and they would all die. If there’s lots of food, the smallest will eventually get fed and can survive. These nest cams can show some gut-wrenching scenes. The most infamous perhaps was one of the very first Osprey cams (on Long Island somewhere), where the smallest young died. One of the adults carried it out of the nest and after several minutes flew back into the nest and fed it to the other young. Waste-not-want-not at its goriest. At Hog Island up in Maine just last week a Bald Eagle came in and took the young out of the nest. Last year at another nest, cameras documented a Great-horned Owl taking young Ospreys out of a nest in NJ or MD. All of these things have been going on for millions of years and Ospreys are doing fine.
Academy of Natural Sciences
I suspect they have all gone now. May God bless them and keep them safe – including little Pee Wee.
Thanks Paul and Tommy for all your effort and caring, for the rescue of our check and for making this invaluable experience happen.
I think we all look forward to the Spring.
Finally made an Ospreyzone store order! Was having a hard time picking what I wanted! Then I realized site may close down for winter and I need to be dressed and ready next March(ish) for the WELCOME BACK celebration….
Site and store will be up and running all winter. We hope to find the time to follow through with lots more highlights and other projects.
So excited 🙂
Fantastic info. Always thankful for all you do. At least we can -visit highlights for our osprey fix.!
Lots of empty nest time…sad for us, good for osprey independence day….
I am constantly amazed by how many colors of blue that water can turn!
In looking up facts and information about Osprey’s and their migration I found this sight which all might be interested in. They talk about their own project but also give general information about Osprey’s .
Scroll back…saw that about 9:30ish a,m,EDT…?Ronnie brought in a nice big fish and posed for the camera…looked like a supermodel with her “locks” blowing from the wind machine…objected to the sib being upstairs, I think and took off. Kind of sunk going out from the weight of the fish.
Don’t see any other action.
Glad most everyone thinks both youngsters are successfully catching fish. I had thought that Sandy was having a hard time and relying on dad but a lot of comments lead me to believe I was wrong and that is a good sign for their migration. Hope y’all are correct.
Around 8:45 a.m., Sandy is still in the nest, waiting for a delivery. Looks like she tried to get a fish a few times in the last hour, because she looks wet. Suddenly, she starts doing the fish dance. I think she thought she saw George with a fish. However, that osprey flew by and there was no delivery. Around 9:05 a.m., she makes another fishing effort and returns with a biggy! Senses some type of danger and takes off with it after a few minutes. I haven’t seen Ronnie in a couple of days, but I see other ospreyites have posted that they have seen both of them in the nest at the same time. It’s very cool and windy outside today. I wonder if that helps them decide it’s time to leave. Also, I never went fishing because I felt bad for the fish, even though I do like seafood. I just don’t like catching them. I have a question to all you fisherpeople: Do fish’s pupils move, like a human, or are they fixed in a certain position? Poor fish.
As to fish eyes, in most species their eyes are very mobile as are ours since sight is an important hunting mechanism. What I do know is many species of fish lack nictitating membranes which make them very light sensitive and that is why they tend to avoid bright sunlight and so you fish for them when it is overcast, at night, early morning, or late afternoons when they will swim and hunt higher in the water column. For example, bluefish don’t seem to mind bright sun whereas large mouth bass tend to avoid it. Hope this helped. Also, it just makes sense that fish that hunt primarily by sight which include most pelagic species obviously have better vision than those that rely on smell and vibrations in the water to seek prey. They can see too just not as well.
Sandy has been squawking most of the morning for breakfast, so far no George. Maybe he’s trying to push her to fend for herself more. She’s left now hopefully to get her own breakfast.
Has Ronnie left?
Just after 7:05amEDT One kid came in and moved over to pose for the camera. Nice up close and personal visit. One was out on the nest perch earlier.
Too bad these guys don’t eat flies…….just a snap away!
I bet it smells ripe in that nest.
CarolV – I’m afraid to say that I have been checking and scrolling back all day, and haven’t seen or heard even so much as an osprey squeek (as of 3:30 p.m.). The three of them might have just decided today was the day for departure and you saw the last of them.
4:30 – Just heard the Chirp Chirp Chirp call from what I think is George. No audible replies. So, I’m wrong. At least George is most probably still here.
4:47 – Sandy in nest. So I’m TOTALLY WRONG!
5:45 AM I hear movement on perch not sure who…
Around 4:20 p.m. a chick brings a nice size fish to the nest. Around 5:10 p.m., another fish is brought to the nest — hopefully by the other sibling. I can’t be sure, because the first one flew away before the second one arrived. But I would think the first one would be full, unless it was Ronnie.
Sandy brought in her own around 4:15 ET, yea!
Kid in with whole fresh fish about 4:18ishEDT Not even guessing
And just for the fun of it,,,,kid started eating by perch (Sandy spot) then moved to no-see corner(Ronnie)….
Wound up back by perch..@about 5:07pmEDT took off with fish followed closely by kid from upper perch. Nice shot of one chasing the other.
George is still in the vicinity. Saw him bring Sandy a fish. I thought he had already gone south.
It is seriously harder to tell them apart…About 3:50pm one flew in shortly after one flew out…I think this is Ronnie now because she arrived making strangled duck noises. Someone on perch.
2:50pmEDT Kid back in nest…someone upstairs chatting with him…I’m guessing it’s Sandy in view
Sailboat parade in background little after 3pm. Kid hanging around grooming and griping.
That should have been sailboats @ 3:30pm and kid left shortly after that…
must be a regatta…parade still going at 4
12:40 pm So far I have seen George bring Sandy a fish. She ate some of it then flew off with it and have not seen anyone since….
In looking back this morning I saw a fish delivered to Sandy and I see a spot under the wing of the osprey delivering the fish. I always thought Gracie had the spot under the wing . I know we haven’t seen her since about Sept. 8th.and she should definitely have gone on her journey by now but I am confused about the spot under the wing. Maybe George has had a spot also but we attributed only Gracie with it. Maybe wishful thinking that Gracie is still around here making sure her kids are O.K. Did anyone else see the spot with that delivery?
First time post, but long time Osprey fan! What an incredible treat it has been to tune and watch these beautiful birds do their thing over the last three months.
sounds like someone cutting a tree down…….. on the other hand, beautiful morning and one more day with our birds.
I’m off to a late start today (weaning from OZ slowly) Scrolled back to see delivery by George @8:50 to Sandy. He’s been waiting impatiently for a while. Large whole fish.
And the noises below, possibly construction, begin again….Sandy’s keeping an eye on things.
Took off with fish-to-go for later.
Approx. 8:50 am – 9/19 – George delivers nice sized head-on fish to the squawking Sandy for breakfast. Haven/t yet seen Ronnie.
At about 8:45 ET George brings Sandy a lovely sized fish.
George brought Breakfish for Sandy,lovely:)
Dad brings breakfast around 8:50…
Yes, that is Sandy for sure……THIS IS IN REPLY TO JUNE C AND FREDDIE ———–
Watching closely every day, Sandy, by far, has become numero uno .You could think now that she was born first.
Sandy can hold her own. She will manage very well, as she is demonstrating now. I always saw a kinder looking face, like “pretty lady”.
Ronnie’s features are sharper. To me he looks more intense and his movements are more staccato.
Isn’t it interesting how we all are so hung-up on who is who.
I am reading my second book by David Gessner on his quest of the ospreys: “Soaring with Fidel”. (I just finished “Return of the Osprey).
I HIGHLY recommend his writings – especially after our friends all have left and we all feel somewhat empty.
IT WAS A GOOD SUMMER.
Thank you once more, Paul and Tommy. May all your days be blessed. RH
Also a great book “Ospreys a Natural and Unnatural History”..next book will be Return of the Osprey..Tks
Yes, I’ve done a lot of my identifying by the eye’s since the beginning. Gracie, as other ospreys, with a soft kindly look from the eyes as does Sandy. George has more of a wild look which Ronnie acquired…..The light brown spot on the left side of his, (George), neck has pretty much disappeared to me……
But you know what, THEY ARE IN LIFE’S STREAM giving a lot of us a joy we had not known.
Many thank’s to you Tommy for sharing, also to those involved in warming our hearts.
Looks like Sandy stayed @ the Nest for the night
Is that Sandy on nest perch for the nigh?
Night not nigh Ha. What a beautifult silhouette…
I agree the picture of Sandy in the nest at 7:10 tonight is priceless. I will miss seeing this picture and that time will be coming soon. So let’s enjoy each beautiful sunrise and sunset over this nest till this site is gone. It is usually Sandy in the nest at these beautiful times since she is the “nester.” I still think she will be flying away one day with this nest in tow like a camper to her winter home.
She’ll need her father tagging along behind to bring her fish where she’s hungry.
Very cute thought !
Around 7:00 p.m., Sandy is lying down and relaxing in the nest. Haven’t seen her do that in quite a while. She just LOVES her home. Wonder if she will do that again before she heads south.
A little before 7pm Sandy came in. Heard a quack from upper perch, so Ronnie must be there. He’s hanging out on his stick.
Sandy’s watching something below very intently and there is light shining upward onto him. Osprey TV
Looks like Sandy on the perch as the sun goes down. Such a beautiful Osprey!!
Someone in to perch @ 5:35pm and Ronnie found her voice…yay…was looking for to Sucrets to drop over there.
All kinds of interesting noises down below! Sounds like the kids are singing along!
Thankfully, the cleaners/marauders didn’t unearth the nest perch…one of the prettiest views is an osprey on that perch as the sun sinks!
About 3 p,m. EST George delivered a huge fish to the nest, I first thought Sandy was I the nest but it turned out to be Ronnie. I use the eating location as my way of telling who got the fish. The recipient of that fish took it to the lower right hand corner of the nest. That is Ronnie’s eating place-Sandy eats out on the nest perch.
Jo-Ann, you were right in thinking it was Sandy. She’s been eating lower right recently when Ronnie is not around. I think she feels safer there when she is eating. What a leisurely meal it was! When she was finished she went to the perch. And she is back there now, looking absolutely gorgeous and self-assured. Good for her.
About 3:05pmEDT….Kid in to squawk followed quickly by George with good sized whole fish in claw. She must be stalking Dad to know when those meals arrive! I think it’s Ronnie.
During the crow invasion, did anyone notice one crow that hopped into the lower-left part of the screen that looked like it had a round, gray mic foam cover in it’s beak?
I saw on carrying a shell who’s name I can never remember. It’s roundish I/2 circle and light colored. Could that be it? There were shells in nest. They were taking anything not nailed down…
The crow invasion was priceless!( @2:oopm ish on) And they have demanding kids, too. Probably found lots of fish crumbs and assorted bugs too.
They didn’t have to steal the house sign! That feather has withstood so much! Guess even “superglue” can’t withstand crow power!
Did you also notice they knocked the feather banner down !!! :(((((((
They were funny to watch but one of them pulled out the feather! Awww
It was like the game we played in camp “Capture the Flag”.
its 4:30 EST and all i can see are tail feathers on someone! they are so far right on screen. no squawking or anything. sounds windy out.
I counted 10 crows In the nest at one point and one was looking straight into the camera at us. I wonder if Gracie knowing that she left George and the kids home hired the” Crow Crew” to tidy up the nest. Even did some re-decorating. She doesn’t want to face a completely dirty and unkempt nest when she returns.lol
Well that’s strange. I refreshed the page several times but it took me making a post to actually get todays posts to show up. So I did all my rambeling for nothing :))))))
Hi…sometimes I have to go to page #s, by comments box, and click on the last number(currently 22). That should bring you to posted comments page.
12:41 pm PDT I’m not seeing any new posts for today so I’m wondering if our moderator has flown south for the winter :))) At least in scrolling back four hours I see the black birds were trying to move in, up to 10 on the nest at once and they were uncovering a lot of black plastic. One chick on the nest earlier chased off an intruder several times and then came back to the nest where Dad brought a fish. So at least Dad and a chick are still here. They are going to have to get going soon or they will miss their chance for a safe migration. This same chick also had a strange sound coming from him. Almost sounded like a goose.
I’ve heard that, too. Maybe his voice is changing? Teenager now….
2:07 pm PDT Carol, I am so glad someone is hearing at least some of the things I do :)))))) Have both chicks been seen at the same time or has one left ? I will also try hittting the page #.
Sadly Ronnie’s voice has degraded from goose to sick duck (@5:32pm)
I wonder whats up with the voice. At this stage of the game they should sound like an adult and not some foreign bird .
George with Fish
Flock of Crows cleaned up the Nest and then came Ronnie>ouch my ears hurt:)
About 1:57 p.m., crows start checking out the nest — nine altogether and investigating it!! Even trying to dislodge plastic that has been buried. Wish one of our beautiful ospreys would come home and chase them away. I wonder if they are thinking about taking up residence once George, Sandy, and Ronnie fly south. Yuk!
A little after 2 pm Eastern time, the cleaning crew arrived. About a dozen crows stopped by to see what they could find to snack on. They were having a good time until the crew boss turned up and made them move on.
2:41pm Fri 9/18 Four black birs pecking away in the nest. No ospreys right now. Wonder if they’re gone for good??
2:30 PM>>>> CROW INVASION!!!!!
Oh dear the feather has just been pulled out.
EIGHT crows in the nest RIGHT now…2:20 pm Friday!!!!
Six crows in nest having a good rummage around.
OMG! at 2:15 I saw 6 black birds in our nest. As I’m watching, 2 more flew in. They’re pecking away & eating something.
Thanks to all who reported George is still on the job! Just now at 2:15, four crows invade the nest and are channeling Merry Maids service.
Woah, 4 more are there for a total of 8!
Looks like a family of crows dropped in for a visit this afternoon about 2:05 pm!
Nest has just had a big wobble. First time I’ve seen that.
Don’t you just love the way they react to something going on above? All that fierce screaming & hunched-over fanning of the wings. It subsides immediately after the action above has stopped. Boy, I’d love to learn that. I’ve seen it so many times, could probably do it, but I risk getting carted away 🙂
Around 1pm Sandy chases off VO. Had to turn down the volume …
Around 10:00 a.m., George delivered half a fish to the babe in the nest. I believe it was Sandy, because she went out on “her” perch to eat it. He’s such a great father!
Whatever holds that feather in should be researched and marketed as competition for Superglue…. Hearing construction noises below again..
George brought a headless Fish for Ronnie?
9:51amEDT Rowdy entry by kid and delivery by Dad!!! Good to see you, George!!!! Maybe this cut back on deliveries is part of the move to self-sufficiency while making sure they get something?
That kid was so excited he almost flew out the other side of the nest before he plopped down!! Think it’s Sandy…..moved on to nest perch
George just as handsome as ever…and as unwelcome by hungry kid…brought in 1/2 good sized fish
9:53 AM George just brought a fish in to the nest sitter… She’s out by the training perch to eat……
Around 9:50 Dad brings in fish for Sandy..
8:14CST Scrolled back 1:42 minutes to see Ronnie arrive at the nest. Didn’t have fish and didn’t do much. Flew off. At approx. 42 minutes back Sandy arrived. Squawked a lil and is still currently in nest. I do have to say that watching Ronnie arrive to nest in the earlier segment was a treat so scroll back if you can. Have a great day everyone 🙂
Heard sounds from upstairs earlier then one flew into the nest about 7:30amEDT. Kid did a double loop around the nest screaming all the way-kid osprey-style…..Stayed about 20 mins,, calling.
Hung out on Sandy perch but kinda thought it was Ronnie….
7:55 am. EDT – 9/18 – Sandy is in the nest crying for breakfast. Haven’t seen George around yesterday. Did anyone?
6:10 just got up..I hear one on perch above camera..going to be another beautiful sunrise..
The Kids are alright….
Saw both chicks catch their own fish today. Saw them leave the nest and in the distance diving. They will be able to take care of themselves on their journey south. As unprepared as George was as a young dad in the beginning, he really learned how to be a good teacher and a wonderful provider. Hopefully, loving, caring dear Gracie is safe and sound in her winter home by now. She and George will be back in April sometime. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy these last couple of weeks with the kids and George right now. Thank you Paul. Thank you Tommy.
Around 4:15 p.m., Ronnie (?) flew in with a fish for early dinner. CarolV: I like that — Spock brows and Groucho Marx brows. Their feather markings have changed so dramatically, it’s really difficult to tell who’s who.
?Ronnie flew out about 6:10pmEDT with leftovers. Flew to perch after a few minutes. Sandy has been in and out a few times to his perch
Look like around 7:05pmEDT Ronnie tried out the nest perch. I think it was her. Didn’t seem comfortable out there while Sandy can do a whole aerial act short of hanging upside down from that perch. Remarks were made from upstairs and after a few minutes she went back up.
I too am guilty of projecting emotions on these birds. It’s ONLY human………I do it for my own amusement sometimes.
6pm EST Great view of the underside of this chick in the nest. Girl/boy? 🙂
Kid still holding that fish in corner. Sounds like someone upstairs asking to share. Kid in nest offers her opinion @5:36pmEDT
And the WIND is back!!!!
Chick with Fish>maybe Ronnie
4:10pmEDT…kid with fish flies in. In the Ronnie corner (no-see). Nice size fish. Someone was in nest yelling just minutes before. Don’t know if it’s same kid
I think Sandy was in the nest for a while this afternoon and I heard someone on perch a few minutes ago. It looks like Ronnie to me who flew in about 5 mins ago.