OspreyZone Live Stream
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The Story of DDT
Bald Eagles Visit Nest
Ospreyzone Highlights: May 21-29, 2020
OspreyZone Highlights: May 15-20, 2020 - The Intruder
OspreyZone Highlights: May 7th-14th, 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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Please be advised that nature can be brutal – viewer discretion is advised.
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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
Yesterday, I think they only had 3 fish. I don’t think that is good for a mom, dad and 2 fast growing chicks. This morning, breakfast arrived at 5:30am, both chicks got a pretty fair share of the fish. Hopefully, it’s a better fishing day today.
Looks like a real good breakfast this morning. Everyone got to eat! Good job George!
About 5:20a.m. Gracie dropped in with some seaweed and fed chicks a bite or two. George came in 5:30ish with a fish and around 5:50 brought in another! One chicck was right in there with the first fish trying to peck into the fish before mom could get some to him, but there didn’t seem to be much aggression between chicks. They both seemed to get well fed. Feeding still going at 6:25 but unfortunately, I must get ready for work. It’s been nice having a few days off to check in on the chicks.
Weather report calling for t-storms. We’ll see if we get them on the East End. They often break up before they work their way across the Island.
The last partial fish wasn’t nearly enough for the starving kids and so the aggression is starting up again. The younger one barely got any and the older one seemed to be considering pushing him out of the nest when the food ran out.
Something strange just happened. It looks like Gracie took off with the fish right in the middle of feeding the younguns.
Oh, My. A lack of fish is causing fighting again! The bigger baby tried to punch the younger baby over the edge! The chirps are different when a fight or stand off begins. I must say the smaller one is trying to stand up for its self. GEEZZZ.
Drama in the nest makes this so much more interesting to me
George caught a fish around 8:10 p.m., but I think they are still hungry. A lot of squawking by Gracie.
YAY! About 8:10p.m. and dinner arrives. Looked like he handed over the whole fish.. Was on small side, so he’ll be lucky to get any.
I wonder what George does all day while he’s away from the nest , does he travel to other locations or does he sit and relax on branches. I dont think he flys around for hours to get a fish but maybe if the fish are scarce he would have to for the family. I think we meed a Go Pro on Gearge ?
Its incredible watching Gracie sit in the nest hour after hour day after day just watching & protecting her babies & knowing the nature of a bird is to fly and be free and yet will not leave her young,God is good
A bit nervewracking- parents gone a long time, last feed I saw was around 1pm. Gracie hoarse from screaming this afternoon,.. these little o…nes are no longer little, they need food at least twice as much as they are getting. Wondering why George’s fishing is so sporadic today….There is still a “pecking order”with the youngs, seems the longer they have to wait for fish, the longer # 2 has to wait its turn to get fed…hope dinner is served very soon
7:19 p.m. Gracie finally back to nest, kiddies chirping, hungry, where oh where is George with some supper?
Thank goodness, 8:09, George finally back with a small fish- let’s see what happens……………..
# 1, doing it’s “stand taller”to back off # 2 feeding, they are really hungry…
Supper finished already, Not enough for the family, gosh I see # 1 trying to push # 2 to edge of nest…survival mode in full gear.George just took off again, hopefully to get more than an appetizer. They really need more food!!
We had on brief downpour at 3:45ish but it doesn’t feel like it’s over for the night. As much as we need the rain and as much as we would appreciate a clean lens, now I worry about the poor chicks!
Did I miss an afternoon feeding? I haven’t seen one since this morning. I saw seaweed from Dad and sticks from both. Hope another late evening meal shows up. Would weather conditions drive fish deeper?
I live on the South Fork
Garbage is normal for Osprey nests. They like it. I don’t know what they would do with just sticks. We’ve always called them the beach sanitation crew.
Cant someone just go up and clean the lens?
It’s 80 feet high, not that easy sir.
Is it raining there now ?
This poor nest is in serious need of a good cleaning and no I am not talking about the lens. Looked like Dad was trying to build up the rails on the one edge but now its wide open again.
Well i see the chicks are doing a lot of wingersizing with those beautiful wings. They are getting really big. Wish the lens was cleaner so we could see better.
Glad to see peace on the nest now.. Mom/Dad are doing such a great job…The nest needs a good cleaning though so there is more room… 🙂
we’re having heavy downpours now in Westchester, hopefully L.I. will get it next and clean the lens 🙂
We had our downpour in Suffolk County.
My area got a barely noticeable shower after a couple loud booms…..no downpour! North shore, central Suffolk. : (
3:16 PM. Looks like a line of storms is moving towards this North Fork! I hope this rain will help our view of the family.
Is that a doll head in the front left side of the nest?
Plastic wadded up.
What I seen had eyes & a nose. It’s on the side now of the face. It’s at the edge on the left side of the nest.
If u look close to the edge you can see the nose on the side of it.
Not seeing anything like that. There is way too much in this nest. Someone’s gonna trip and fall out. lol
Ha! That’s funny! A dolls head! Guess nothing is off limits. Wish someone would pile up a bunch of good sticks and nesting material near them so george could bring it into the nest.
11:30 am: Saw at least two feeding so far today, lots of stretching and flapping of wings and the occasional nest remodeling. So far everyone seems to be happy.
Are the Sparrows leasing the basement apartment?
They’ve even done renovating with furnishings from the landlords place!
George is looking extra handsome today as he stands right in front of the camera looking at us.
Finally a delivery…fishing not so good this a.m. Heard the garbage truck backing up down below…if they only knew where the trash is!
Owe George an apology..missed 8a.m. fish breakfast.
Monday night 9 PM even though you could barely see big guy actually poked little guy to get out-of-the-way even the little guy didn’t get very much food on this last feeding. I hope they don’t fight in the morning because little guy didn’t get very much at all this time mom is eating the rest so she must be really hungry as well 4 Fish in one day is not enough for the baby ospreys
Some of the other Osprey families that I watch on live cams get six fish a day
Monday 8:30 PM finally dinner I only counted 4 fish for the day total George needs to up his game babies and Mama are hungry
Finally! A nice big fish about 8:35 PM. Gracie has to be exhausted from yelling all day. Looks like George might have gone back to try for another one for himself.
Gigantic fish delivery at 8:36PM- Gracie immediately took it from George.
She is happy she can stop screeching now.
Holy cow, I’ve been gone for a week and what a change. The nest has become a garbage dump and those little darlings have doubled in size. It’s fun to watch them stretch those awkward wings. Maybe some rain will come and wash the lens soon. We live in WV and would gladly send it your way if we could.
Wow, they seem to have even grown more,,,,just today alone! Awesome!
I guess that last headless fish wasn’t nearly enough because Gracie started squawking as soon as it was finished. She yelled at George non-stop until he finally took off from the perch. Too funny, she hasn’t made a peep since the minute he left.
‘wish I spoke Osprey! Gracie has a lot on her mind today
Donna Weinholtz. Thanks for letting us know about the tail feeding. Great to see! Was able to share it with a few friends. No fighting. Wonderful!
GinaM..George has a separate perch and doesn’t have to sit on camera. Although I think Gracie might have today. Her tail feathers were dangling in the top of the frame.
Gracie isn’t too happy that George seems done for the day. You can see his shadow
This is hilarious. Gracie is screaming right at George whose shadow you can see facing her from on top of the camera. I wonder how hot that camera gets on his talons?
It also seems like they grew the feathers overnight. Or did Paul switch birds on us under cover of a poopy lens? 🙂
Gracie is making a lot of noise and the chicks are there beside her. George is up on his perch because I can see his shadow. Is she communicating with other birds? She’s about to lose her voice.
Yes, both chicks were well fed, Jo-Ann. Can you scroll back on the red line at the bottom of picture? Go back to around 3:00 to watch. It’s a fun feature.
Monday 3:30 PM
Gina and Donna I too saw
one of the babies just feed a bit of fish to it’s sibling that was awesome!
Someone else asked if that was plastic or paper in the nest it is a piece of a plastic bag.
Also someone asked if baby number two got just as much is baby number one I have seen all three feedings and all three feedings both babies got their share even though baby one always seems to get his first.
After the bad fishing over the weekend I was concerned so I kept my Osprey family on all day to make sure they got enough food today
George is much smaller than Gracie although it is sometimes hard to tell and as with all Osprey families the Female has more of a black necklace around the neck and the mail does not
Here’s hoping George brings a good dinner and maybe a snack before bed
Correction…that’s upward facing arrow on George’s head.
4:00 p.m. – Everyone is hot with the western sun beating down on them. Anyone have an idea how they can get some shade?
Notice the chicks have lost the white stripe from down their back. Their feathers are almost fully in.
I just came on line and see Gracie feeding baby #1 with baby#2 in the back. Is he waiting to be fed or did he already get his fill? I worry that baby #2 does not get enough if he waits till baby #1 is finished. Gracie does not seem to even be trying to get food to baby #2. Did anyone see him eat at this feeding?
just saw the thing that made my day! one of the babies just fed a bit of fish tail to it’s sibling! approx 3:13pm EST. too cool!
Karin..if this helps..Gracie has a few brown feathers dotting her chest, which isn’t always easy to see. She has a small triangle patch on her forehead which runs into her beak top. The back of her head is mostly white.
George’s forehead patch isn’t as defined and has a white rim above his beak. The back of his head has a separate downward pointing brown arrow.
Hope this helps. There is a size difference which is hard to gauge.
Thanks! Now i will have to glue the eyeballs to my screen tomorrow and watch for these markings… 🙂
I hope they grow into their wings soon, they’re so wobbly.
Another delivery @2:54. Full trio chorus to greet Geo. Head off fish. Guess he’s learning the tricks. He needs his energy to keep up with demand! Since Gracie hasn’t fed him lately,
it’s every man for himself…..
Wish that white plastic would blow away! Most annoying piece yet!
I love watching Gra feed the chicks, especially since fighting is minimal. She is so tireless keeping the food coming.
2:58 ok. so the other comments just showed up… make that lunch part 2…….
2:55 PM George brings 3rd fish of the day
Everyone is hungry
2:55 finally! LUNCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! yea! 🙂
2:27 pm Grace seems to be looking for George….. she moved directly in front of the camera and gave us a good what for……. 2 things… lets fill a baby swimming pool with water and lots of fish and place it right next to the tower….. 2nd, can we get a little sparrow to stick a pink bow on mom and a blue tie on dad? Sometimes i just cannot tell who is who…… ( except for all the nagging )
One of the babies is trying to tear pieces of fish off for himself. I believe I just saw it feed a piece to the other baby. They are getting so big.
Hi Carol- I saw it feed the other one too! posted about it b4 I saw your comment! beats the heck out of the alternative, right? yay! 🙂
I mean GinaM 🙂
1:00p.m. and George comes through! Gracie was so excited that even the chicks joined in welcoming lunch(and Dad)!
The head was already gone so Geo must have an offsite perch. I didn’t see him get any fish this morning. Sometimes he comes in to get the leftover tail section, but I didn;t see that this a.m., so he had to be really hungry. And if he was anywhere in sight I’m sure Gracie would have been yelling instead of nodding off!
Monday at 1 PM George finally brings Fish #2 and everyone is hungry Gracie couldn’t grab it away from him fast enough
Is that paper or plastic in the nest? I don’t remember that piece of ‘whatever that is’ yesterday.
George dropped in. Could hear Gracie on perch talking to him. One chick was trying to impress dad with his stick moving but dad just took them away and said “not now, Jr.”
Gracie dropped down to the nest to have a beak to beak chat and George is out again. I can only imagine him hovering and scoping out the territory on the hunt. Poor guy, doing his best I’m sure…
11:07 One baby chick keeps picking up sticks to move around and Mama takes them away and moves them to the other side.. Heh Heh.
Thank goodness everyone is ok. I had not seen them eat anything since around noonish yesterday and only one adult from midafternoon to shutting down computer after too dark to see. I was getting nervous the kids would start fighting again and i was worried something bad happened to George.Whew! I think you all are right. Boat weekends are bad for osprey. Hi Carol!
The following link provides several details about cameras that have been successully mounted and used for Osprey surveillance.
Love the site, congrats on your efforts. Funny thing… Today I went to the site on my MacBook laptop and there was no live video. I then went to my iPad and the live video runs fine. I’m assuming it is a bandwidth problem , with too many visitors. Right now there is a fish laying in the center of the nest and nobody is eating.
Opps sorry, it is only paper that looks like a fish’s head!
Karin..saw your comment about seeing your name…had the same reaction when I saw carol next to a post not from me! Then when I started going back to pages before I started watching, there she was again..
Gracie must be telling Geo to go fish. He must be on the perch above. I can hear him and she keeps looking up there and yelling. “Come on, hubby! More than 3 hours since breakfast! The kids are growing and need more!”
Gracie was very concerned at the first feeding this a.m. that the kids eat enough. When they decided to go back to sleep, she chatted to them then brought the fish over to their side of the nest to feed one some more. Happy to see George gets right back on the job after the annoyances of the weekend!
How unaware we are how our lives can affect the world around us!
Something needs to be done about the camera.
Yeah, it’s a sad thing. The poop is so dried on now that even a heavy rain may have difficulty washing it off.
Maybe the fire department can help!
Earlier this year I watched the hatchlings in an eagle’s nest in Hanover, PA. The same thing happened. Bullseye. It took a while for the rain and morning dew to erode the poop, but it finally disappeared before the eaglets started flying.
Monday morning at 5:40 a fish for breakfast Sounds like both of them are being fed can’t really tell because they’re on the side of the nest wrer the lens is blurry Just glad to know George brought the fish already hope he keeps up the good work.
I am worried about the missing parent. I think George is the one in the nest with the little ones. If so, where is Gracie? They must be getting hungry.
It’s 8:15 Does anyone know if they got an evening meal?
I watched a different osprey site the other day. The baby was flapping its wings & got about 6 inches off the nest. Looked so cute, it kept on trying, Got a little bit higher each time, but not enough to go anywhere. Can’t wait to see these two start getting ready to fly!
Wow! Last I viewed was just Friday afternoon and the babies have really changed!
I think Gracie favors that right side because there is a nice solid piece of wood to perch on as opposed to a bunch of assorted twigs. you can just see it when she’s not on it. The kids hang out there when she is, mostly. She’s shifted to the far side now. Wonder if wind direction might affect where she perches?
6:30 No George, no fish… I hope he’s ok…… I gotta make a dad visit…. I hope all is well when I get back…
5:59 pm Come on George, where are you? We need a fat fish delivery ( and and extra one on the side ). I am wondering if the seaweed grasses are for a little moisture to slurp on till they can get a fish… Both chicks have been trying to stay under mom… One chick just laid on its side legs sticking out. He looks funny.
And more plastic added! It has to be funny to anyone below catching a glimpse of a large bird towing a banner behind it!
As to why they start at head…I believe someone mentioned that often the male eats head to take advantage of extra protein found there. I wonder if it’s also a grip issue. It seems easier to hold on to the body while working on the head.
I’ve been watching on and off all day… I have not seen a fish delivery in several hours…. I do hope the boats are not interfering too bad… Geo better get creative..
I see the chicks have changed their aim to the left. Thank you, guys!
Boy, Phoenix the first born, as I hope may be considered looks like he is ready to take off !!
Hi. It is so weird seeing ( your ) my name here knowing it’s not me. 🙂