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The Ospreys Have Returned!


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Early 2020 Highlights

Osprey Rescue

Tommy Aprea - Windsong Osprey Nest

Tip:  If the nest is empty, use the red scroll bar to rewind the stream up to 12 hours

July 6, 2020: The first egg has hatched!

Please be advised that nature can be brutal – viewer discretion is advised.
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Belle’s Journey

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.

Click HERE for more information!

IMPORTANT: Messages from osprey experts

Rob Bierregaard July 1, 2015 at 7:24 am
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.

4818eecc88292926c58414a82c884c71Paul 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.

Reprinted with the permission of John W. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Hello Paul,

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

In addition, Charles Eldermire, Bird Cams Project Leader, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Writes:

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.


Charles Eldermire
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.

Rob Bierregaard
Academy of Natural Sciences
Drexel University


    1. ospreyzone July 8, 2021 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      I’m saddened by our loss and reminded how privileged we are to be able to witness nature in the raw.

      The good news is that the Ospreys have come back, from near extinction. In fact, almost too strong. There are Ospreys everywhere, there was a lot of fighting this year, it seems there is a shortage of nests but the Ospreys are abundant.

      Please explain why you think the other egg will not hatch. Yankee was born on July 3rd I believe and if I remember correctly the eggs were laid 5 or 6 days apart. I’m thinking there is still a chance. Please advise.

      Also, do we really know if it’s the Jane from last year, or the original George, for that matter. Seems to me that the female was at a loss, what to do, except for defending the nest , which made for some great highlights. The “intruders” were so persistent, especially the female, it always made me question if our couple were originals or not. Maybe the couple in the nest are the intruders, Do we really know?

      • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 4:54 pm - Reply

        Hi, Paul….
        We are all sad, too. We compared pics from previous years with this female. The under wing markings are distinctive and show that this is Jane of 2018.
        Same with George. He has several i.d. spots and his head markings compare.

        There may be a slight chance of a hatch. Since we can’t tell those beautiful eggs apart, let’s assume that is #2 still sitting there. Laid on 5/29, with an incubation of 34-40 days (varies between sites- some say 42) we are on day 39-40.

        So, we shall see…..
        And thank you for all you and your “helpers do to keep this site going! I’m especially glad Tommy and Christina named this baby so early… something to remember her/him by.

        And, although many blame the parents, there is a good chance there was some deficiency in the chick that the parents sensed. We don’t know.
        Take care………… stay healthy

      • Admin Mary Anne July 8, 2020 at 5:22 pm - Reply

        Paul, today is day 40 for the second egg, if that is the second egg. If it’s the first egg, which I doubt, then it’s at 45 days and it’s for sure not viable. Second eggs most often hatch at 36 or 37 days and we are past that time frame. But nothing is etched in stone. And as Carol said already, we know we have George and Jane on the nest. Thank you for everything that you do!

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 6:04 pm - Reply

        If Yankee was not ill. Think intruders played a part. At least a handful of times seemed Jane and George were going to feed her. They were sidetracked by relentless intruders.It is their instinct to guard the nest

    2. Admin Mary Anne July 8, 2021 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Good morning everyone- The chick appears to have passed away sometime before 7:49 am. We won’t ever know what happened or why George and Jane did not feed the chick enough. The second egg is unlikely to hatch now, it is day 40. Special thanks to Carol Valk and Isabella for their frequent updates, screenshots and colorful captions. RIP little Yankee.

      • winnie July 8, 2020 at 9:39 am - Reply

        Yes thank you also for allowing us to view these beautiful creatures! They are amazing!

      • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 9:44 am - Reply

        TY, Mary Ann, for all you do. Fly high, fly free, little Yankee

      • PattyK July 8, 2020 at 9:47 am - Reply

        So very sad. CarolV and I commented to each other about our concerns on the very little parenting, especially by Jane this season.RIP little Yankee…..Another sad event for 2020….

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 9:47 am - Reply

        Good morning Mary Anne…. thank you for all you do.
        Such a sad ending to a season we were all so excited about. I like to think Jane and George knew something was amiss with Yankee. This is nature’s way,as awful as it is to witness. Yankee, your sweet little soul is now in heaven

      • June c July 8, 2020 at 10:06 am - Reply

        I am so sorry to see…what a shame..we will never know why Jane didn’t feed chick right away…knew last night seeing chick could not raise head to eat…actually shut computer down

      • ChrisH July 8, 2020 at 10:19 am - Reply

        Thank you, Mary Anne. This is heartbreaking for sure, but I’m so grateful for the camera and all the posted pictures and comments over the years. This is the risk we take for that benefit. RIP little cutie Yankee.

      • nfc July 8, 2020 at 10:22 am - Reply

        Thanks Mary Anne for the update. It is sad. Now Yankee will fly free . Glad that Yankee had a name. It has been wonderful to see the nest this year. We can hope for a better outcome next year. The camera placement was great. Now we can watch George and Jane and see how they handle life. Special thanks to the owners of the cams and all who work to make it work. Thanks to Carol and Isabella for the posts and pictures that make the chat interesting. Glad that we have this community to chat on.

        • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 12:46 pm - Reply

          Thank you nfc
          I agree about the chick having a name. Gives her dignity. Seems in the past, chicks weren’t named til almost fledge time.

        • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 4:08 pm - Reply

          TY for the kind words. Being in a good community helps in the tough times. (:^}}

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 12:41 pm - Reply

        Sending out a big, far reaching hug for all!….although we don’t see each other. We are feeling this loss “together “.
        Actually glad second egg won’t hatch. It is brutally hot and humid. And will be for a while. Too late in the season for a newborn. Chicks in other nest are older and have a better chance of surviving it.

        • winnie July 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm - Reply

          And right back at you Isabella As I am typing this I am crying-so sad-but you are right! Hoping Mom & Dad are safe in their journey South-Prayers for a better Spring next year!

    3. Laura July 9, 2020 at 8:19 am - Reply

      Thank you to all are involved with OspreyZone. I have been watching this since its inception and look forward to it every spring. Have to say, it is an emotional rollercoaster at times, actually most years. This year the eggs came so late in the season. Yankee was born at a time when most are getting ready to fledge. Who knows if there was something wrong other than the timing. I have always found that nature takes care of itself. While it is so sad and heartbreaking, it is nature and it’s not for the weak of heart. I have found this a sad year for lots of nests. One nest I watch was made a few years ago by a couple that was forced out of their nest by a young Osprey pair. They built a new nest on a small tree. This year they were here when we had a storm. The branch broke on the tree and the nest was lost. A couple of days later, I found Osprey eggs on the sand. The next day they were gone. I am sure some sort of animal got to them. Such horrible timing for this pair. This couple has since built a new nest in the same small tree. Another nest was built on an electrical pole. PSEG did put up a new pole and move the nest with the two eggs. It took the female a few days accept the new nest. She sat on the eggs for such a long time but the eggs were not viable and they abandoned the nest. Three nests, six eggs, zero babies. I am sure there are many more as well. I am hoping George and Jane have a safe journey south and make it back here safely next year. Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for them and for humankind. Thank you again for this wonderful site. I will be looking forward to watching it next spring.

    4. CarolV July 9, 2020 at 7:22 am - Reply

      An osprey day….Things still need to be done……

      Jane did some nestoration. That thick rope was moved out. Then, when Jane moved a stick, the rope rode back toward the rim…… like a snake waiting to pounce……………. ( too dramatic?)

    5. Isabella July 9, 2020 at 1:36 am - Reply

      Good night Jane and George….sorry for your loss

    6. CarolV July 8, 2020 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Jane pulling a George……..
      I think she wants him to fish. I haven’t seen him bring in a fish since about 9:05am…… was in and out with leftovers throughout the morning……. Did anyone see a fish this afternoon?

      • Isabella July 9, 2020 at 1:40 am - Reply

        Sorry CarolV…didn’t watch the afternoon…only saw this whopper

    7. Trinity July 8, 2020 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Every year there are new obstacles for our beloved Osprey to face , and 2020 was no different , for animals and humans alike. Little Yankee has passed on , we will watch George & Jane finish out the season and look forward to next years adventure . 💚

    8. Ospreylover July 8, 2020 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      What happened to the baby????

      • Admin Mary Anne July 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm - Reply

        Ospreylover, the chick passed away this morning, due to not being fed enough.

    9. Elaine July 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Hello everyone. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of little Yankee. This sure has been uncertain times for all of us including wildlife/birds.

    10. Sue Diehm July 8, 2020 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I’m so sad to hear about Yankee‘s passing. It didn’t look good yesterday. I guess we’ll never understand George and Jane’s behavior.

    11. CarolV July 8, 2020 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 12:11 pm - Reply


        • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm - Reply

          Top pic from yesterday when she was still able to hold up her head.

          George covered her with seaweed……..

          • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 12:26 pm - Reply

            he covered her after she passed, of course……..

    12. Pat Sledjeski July 8, 2020 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      Where is the Chick? I saw him earlier this morning but it didn’t appear he was moving, now I don’t see him.

      • Admin Mary Anne July 8, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

        Sadly the chick passed away this morning.

      • Pat Sledjeski July 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm - Reply

        Just read all the posts. Sad, but unfortunately that is nature

    13. kathryn kovacs July 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Look like they cover Yankee with seaweed. Hatch July 3 and died July 8 rest in peace.

    14. Kammy McLoughlin July 8, 2020 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Little Yankee is no longer suffering but flying somewhere over the bay. Thank you to Carol and Isabella for all of their photos and comments. Thank you to the Aprea family for this gift. Thanks Mary Ann for your work.

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 6:10 pm - Reply

        Kammy…..thank you so much! I love the thought of her flying over the bay ! X0

    15. kathryn kovacs July 8, 2020 at 10:19 am - Reply

      The osprey move the egg around to nourish the embryo. Maybe they didn’t do that enough and took a long time to hatch.

    16. kathryn kovacs July 8, 2020 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Don’t look good. Maine’s Hog Island didn’t have any luck having their chicks. They were brother by owls. This is day 40 for second egg thinks it is to late in the season for it to hatch.

      • Admin Mary Anne July 8, 2020 at 8:58 am - Reply

        Yes, that egg is likely non-viable.

    17. CarolV July 8, 2020 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Life goes on…….. Jane continues to incubate eggie….. presumably non-viable and George continues to build…………… he must have an endless supply of these crazy branches.

      I.m very sad about Yankee. Taking a break for a bit

    18. Paula July 8, 2020 at 7:49 am - Reply

      They let the chick starve to death. The baby is dead!

    19. CarolV July 8, 2020 at 7:41 am - Reply

      I prefer to think the parents sense something wrong with their chick. Trying to feed her would have been a way to evaluate it.
      Many years ago, my cat had a litter of kittens. One had a birth defect. Beyond initial contact, the mother ignored it. (Sadly, I had no money for vet care…. rough memory) And the kitten died.
      As observers, we would not know this. The evidence for me is knowing past performance of this pair. Perhaps a little spotty with Jane, but George has always stepped up.
      I for one, won’t judge them or speculate further……….. it is what it is…

      • winnie July 8, 2020 at 9:21 am - Reply

        it is painful to watch-maybe thats what happened to the blind baby deer we rescued-also happened to me with a litter of kittens-when there is a “runt”as they say Mom rejects it! That is nature & sometimes can be heartbreaking! God Bless Mom & Dad they did the best they knew how!

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 9:53 am - Reply

        I’m in your camp CarolV….sending you a hug! X0

      • ChrisH July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am - Reply

        I agree with you, Carol. I kept thinking the same thing over and over all last night. Was praying for a better outcome, but the fact that their behavior, especially George’s, was so off this time definitely seems to indicate that they knew something was wrong with the baby. So very sad.

      • Morrison5 July 8, 2020 at 9:58 pm - Reply

        Something must have been wrong with the baby. On Saturday we watch as one of the parents tried to feed Yankee, the baby was not lifting it’s head for the food being offered. So sad.

    20. Wendy July 8, 2020 at 7:38 am - Reply

      Yankee looks abut weak is he getting enough food.? I have only seen him fed occasionally and by George.

    21. CarolV July 8, 2020 at 7:25 am - Reply

      GM, Jane……. must be leftover fish from last night.

      • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 7:27 am - Reply

        GM, George…..

        • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 7:30 am - Reply

          Jane did not take fish; George ate it……………. Yankee is moving around the eggcup but not really raising her head. George checks her over and settles.

          • CarolV July 8, 2020 at 7:32 am - Reply

            They trade trade nest duty several times and George brought a long branch….

    22. Isabella July 8, 2020 at 1:56 am - Reply

      Wondering if Yankee was born too late in the season. So hot and humid!….Squirmy, Sunny and Breeze were earlier……..pic of Jane feeding Squirmy……feeding Sunny while George was eating the bugs in egg shell……maybe one of the experts listed above can give an answer or opinion!

      • Isabella July 8, 2020 at 1:58 am - Reply


    23. JoJo July 7, 2020 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      I’ve been an OZ viewer for several years but not often enough to tell one parent from another. This year I share concerns that Yankee is not being properly parented. I remember reading some early comments that perhaps this mom is not Jane. Is it remotely possible that this is an accurate assessment and Jane’s replacement sadly doesn’t understand family life?

    24. CarolV July 7, 2020 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Sorry…. lens has fogged over…..

      George brought in a fish………….. Jane left without it.
      George has been patiently waiting, but the chick is not responding. She has moved around the eggcup but not lifting her head.

    25. kathryn kovacs July 7, 2020 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Your date is wrong it is the 7th not the July 6

    26. CarolV July 7, 2020 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      @17:43…… fish in; fish out…………….. and we wait with fingers crossed

      • CarolV July 7, 2020 at 6:27 pm - Reply

        Jane and her empty feet are back….

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