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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
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Hard to Get
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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
Is that a bottle?
Tomorrow is day 40 for chick number2. That is when chick number one hatch.
Tomorrow is day 40 for chick number two. I hope it doesn’t hatch will not be enough food for two and I don’t think they have been sitting on it enough.
George loves these crazy branches!
Jane “helped” while snipping off smaller branches.
George piled it under the camera…. if he keeps going, he’ll have that wall up to lens level again!
It does put in in perfect portrait mode….. yelling
But I think he buried the rope!
Happily, I walked away because I was so upset- not at the birds, but the situation….. And the first thing I see on coming back, is Jane feeding Yankee! Going back to watch.
The feeding lasted 3-4 mins. Yankee did well. Jane was patient. Kiddo had some good chunks and Jane let her tear pieces from chunks she held out.
And what looked like a food coma.
George came down from perch to check in and yell at the sky…………………… one step at a time..
Let’s hope this isn’t the only feeding today. Thankfully it was a decent one!
Yankee gets feeding by Jane
She attempted to feed more. Yankee put her head down. Hopefully due to being full!
It’s probably exhaustion from being malnourished! I sure hope they feed him a couple more times today then he might have a chance!
I am concerned that baby is getting very weak….13:14 observed Jane trying to feed but chicks head down..and has not moved from same spot..this is such a shame…praying for little one to eat…
Isabella… So glad to see these posts. I had to stop watching for awhile and came back to see Jane feeding kiddo….. Just too excited!
Jane just gave Yankee 4 pieces of fish, he is so weak this is his 4 day alive.
Early morning was off to a wacky start….George brings stick.,Then reeds . Takes off. Saw him fly back and forth over bay. 🎣? Think he’s confusing sticks with fish. Fish sticks!
Finally fish!…..bye bye fish!
Hello fish…..Jane came and went with fish about 3xs. Attempted to feed . There was an intruder alert. I think he was after the fish. Alarms were heard. Jane took off with fish.
Then George came and took fish
Came back and just stood there with 🐟.
Does anyone know if Yankee has anything to eat today?
If this chick survives it will be a miracle.
Has Yankee eaten at all today? I think you are right they don’t know what to do. I wonder how young they are? They know how to fix the nest and eat.
George is at least 9 years old. Jane is young, maybe 5 or 6? I stopped watching this morning at 7. While I was watching, didn’t see a feeding. Yankee looks good and is moving around. Hoping for the best!
Fish @10:46…………………………………. lens has fogged over…
Jane tried mid-air grab,,, Thought it was gonna go but she got a foot on it…. interesting
I can hardly type…….. Jane had come back with the fish. After eating for a short time, she was reaching out to Yankee with a first bite when George floated down and took the fish…..
I’m so mad I could spit….. must go wash dishes or clothes and calm down…..
George’s behavior is odd!….after Jane got the hang of motherhood, she was an excellent one. I’m concerned about Yankee. But also worried about Jane and George. Maybe one of the experts can view and comment!
I keep wondering if this couple are really George and Jane. Two years ago when Jane didn’t know how to take care of her chick, George took over and taught her how. Last year she knew what to do. Now it’s as though neither of them is really sure.
I just hope little Yankee gets enough to eat in spite of their ineptitude.
Little bit of a number nerd…………………………………………………………. today is…. 07072020 ………………………………………………… can this be our lucky day?????? Please?????????
Not what we want to see…………rope………………… it got pushed off to front rim; hope it stays there
Stick wars…………………. Jane brings a stick… which she has a hard time placing ,,,,, tried at least 3 different spots, hopping over G
Now, George returns serve………….. oh, not tennis……………………….. anyhow, we know where George’s stick lands AND that he demands nest back
Camera is in and out of focus……………….
Next round………………………………………WWO( Wild Wrestling Ospreys) quality………………….. Jane is defeated but back in minutes
Love that shot of George with “neck wings”!
George starts the day with reeds……………………..
@06:04……………….. Fluke…… and the ridiculous begins again………..
Jane flies off………….. George brings seaweed…………..Jane is in and out and in with the fish………….even has it in the eggcup at one point……………….
Yankee and eggie
Then we had a stick debate…….George’s choices not acceptable…………………………. the fish left with George and Jane had the final word on the stick
hi Carol. I’ve been watching this morning, thx for all your pics. Did the first baby hatch on July 3rd? Was curious if a 4-day time period for second eggs to hatch is normal for ospreys. Most of my experience is watching bald eagles. Thanks.
No. Not normal but it happens. First for us. There’s a nest in Patchogue where the chicks are 5 days apart, I believe. but I think our 2nd egg is nearing expiration. I just want this little one taken care of! Scaring me…
George was back by 6:51……… and just sat………………… Jane doesn’t budge .
George nibbled at the fish, waiting. Unfortunately, he was waiting for Jane to get hungry again…….. and off she goes with leftovers. George did some rearranging and flew…
At least Yankee had that seaweed to lean against. Might be some moisture still in it.
Good night Jane
Moon managed to get through those clouds, I see. Pretty shot
Little wing resting on egg……so cute!
Dad ! Don’t go!…..okay, I’m back
Incoming Jane….outgoing George
Managed to get in a few bites….intruder!…..Jane flew out right before…..could hear alarm calls in the distance
Let’s try this again
Down the hatch…..okay, not quite done…….second attempt didn’t go well. George seemed perplexed by getting to Yankee. Managed maybe two bites. Some were too big or a piece of skin. Due to it being end of fish. Yankee seemed to want more
George brought a fish @19:58……
Jane approached and acted like she was taking the fish but flew out without it……………………. Missed opportunity with Yankee asleep while George could have been feeding her……
When Jane came back, George took fish with him………
Repeat…. George comes with leftovers….. Jane goes off……………… Yankee sleeps and G nibbles.
By the time Y was active, the fish was gone.
G brings long stick which caught on the rim…. He was flying in place for a few flaps….
Jane says she’ll help find a place for it…. mainly off her!
G checks on Yankee and goes.
He’s back with wood and some odds and ends…… forces Jane out and decides to leave….. Jane was right in
A big footful of grasses…………………. Afish in each foot would be better…
I’ve been waiting to see what’s happening but it;s another screwy feeding. I’m usually positive but I’m even getting worried…..
George brought a fish @15:29….. in case you missed it….
Jane took it but was back in 10 min,…. that’s an improvement………………….. she gobbled down a good part of it
When she turned to Yankee, she got maybe 2 bites in when she got sidetracked by a fin,,,,,,, George came in and took the fish while she was preoccupied….
She settled on nest and I’ve been hoping George would come back. I can hear him….but.
I think George waited too long……………. He tried keeping the fish to feed Yankee but Jane dragged it away…………… and proceeded to eat it all. George watched it go
J floated straight up when she was done. I think G was checking her feet for fish…. she settled back on nest
Both parents seem to be a bit wonky…..The crop develops in the first week. So hopefully Yankee has gotten enough and both parents will get in sync 🤞
George had just come in…..
Yankee was upright, just like a big kid………………..
George took off suddenly…. watch that down draft!
G was right back to see what’s up….
Think other egg will hatch??
It’s possible, but I have a feeling it won’t, if it goes past today or tomorrow..
@05:40….. George brings a fish……
He didn’t want to hand it over and was pulling it toward nestcup when it just slid right in……….
Jane got it and went…..
If possible, George paced the nest and made a quick dash down to the beach for some seaweed.
Jane returned with the fish……… George doesn’t budge……. Jane heads to perch…
Now, Jane comes back, surrenders fish and GEORGE takes off……………….
These guys are turning in to a BAD soap opera!
It’s now 7am……
George is back w/ fish….. Yankee is finally getting fed…. . but of course, pest alert: George alarms and flies off….
And he comes back to finish the feeding……. Yankee needs to get out of that cup…. it’s deep, making it difficult to reach her……………….. but they did ok. George only picked up a few dropped pieces.
Yankee had a speck of fish stuck on her beak but they worked around it!
I’m exhausted! Too long for a single feeding!
George was overly ambitious…….. came back out and Y got fed some more…
Yankee has a crop!
GM, Jane…… GM, Yankee and eggie…..
I see a Buck moon rising…….
The stroke of midnight…..
That would be an amazing journey if she can pull it off….
Always amazes me that people think to do these kinds of things
But I suppose people talked behind the back of the person working on the first wheel………….
When is Doodle due?
Now. It’s Day 38 for that egg. It might not hatch.
I agree…she hardly was there for 1st. Egg…..so we have a Yankee…makes a great head rest for little one…
I’m happy with one
So am I!
Good night Jane and Yankee
Jane and Bebe Yankee
George mostly shading Yankee
Hey dad….bring back the shade!
Exit stage right….dad left..mom popped down
Dad returns with ginormous stick!
Oops,,,,,did I do that?……knocks other pieces into egg cup….Jane clears it
Bebe bay watch
One fish tail in the talon is worth two in the nest
Dad has a late snack while bebe naps
Love that golden time of evening……….
George comes in to check…………..
Finds a crunchy fishtailfin…. yum!
Jane takes a quick run and G is gone when she gets back…. Nighty-night
George brought trade item… really fresh seaweed wrapped with what looked strangely like a skull but probably wood.
Jane took off…………. George claimed waiting fish from nestcup and watched Yankee till that head bobbed up.
He started feeding Yankee, who kept falling asleep. But George kept checking and fed her whenever she woke up.
George cleaned around her for all the missed bites, but I’m sure she had more than a few that went in.
George settles in… fishtailfin still there….
George is feeding the chick but I don’t think it is eating it. You notice he is picking up in front of the chick. Maybe he only needs a little.
Just wondering…why does it seem that the babe and eggie are left alone so much more this season than we have ever noticed before…Grace, years ago never left the nest, then a Jane did the same…seems like George is Mr. Mom in the nest this season??
Jane fed the chick a bit earlier. It seems it’s taking a while for her maternal instinct to kick in, but her feeding the chick earlier was a good step. George just fed the chick a little after 7 pm.
Usually someone on the perch. It’s also warmer this year than it normally is because of the late hatch. Overheating can be an issue, too.
Yankee and Doodle very cute. Waiting for #2.
5:03 pm- Jane feeds the chick.
George brought a large fish, head included.
He really tried to hold on; his foot wasn’t stuck, so I know he was resisting…
But Jane is still set in her habits….
Jane is back with a big chunk of fish left….. She looked at chick and saw that it was sleeping, so she waited.
George came in … shadow from perch….
Jane settles in to feed Yankee. She made some pieces too big but Yankee had a good feeding’
Jane saves rest and settles on eggcup
Look who’s making a break for it!!!!!!
I stumbled into the edit mode! Now I have to figure out how I got there….
Jane drops down; she has somethings to say to George, who goes out…
She puts a lid on the happy wanderer…. he’s not gonna stay in that cup much longer…
Carol– glad you figured out your problem. Technology can be frustrating. Thanks for your pictures and comments.
TY… frustrating is a mild word for me and tech!
Was a fairly quiet afternoon… George spent a long time as an awning…… when Jane did come down, George hung around, so Jane went back upstairs.
There’s much traffic out on the bay. I think it interferes with fishing.
Of course, what day is complete without a pest alert!
George comes in……………. digs a fishtail from the pantry……. does he hide them there?
Unfortunately, Yankee fell asleep before George had a chance to feed him, so George ate the tail…
He stood as a dadbrella before sitting on the nest.
Jane floats down from perch and takes the spot
George is doing double duty as father getting fish and feeding the chicks and sitting on the chicks.
Tiny baby poop…. guess that’s a good sign…
Has anyone seen this chick eat yet?
Yes, today so far, the chick was fed a few times by George.
Has anyone seen Jane feeding the chick? I see George feeding the chick. I see George bringing fish in and Jane thinks it is room service and flies off with it. I don’t get it. It is going to get very hot the next couple of days in the 90’s. Hope things turn out alright.
Probably won’t be that hot out here but hot enough…
Had some success this morning and Yankee is starting to scoot, which will help getting her/him closer.
George is back and picks up leftover fish. Yankee is awake and even scoots forward a little- good work, baby!
George was patient and it looked like he was hitting the target… just hope the target is swallowing some!
Jane is back and finishes small tail piece leftover….
George turns over nest and goes to perch…
Enjoying the fireworks…
George feeding Yankee…8:41 am
Another fish @08:00.
Jane takes off…………… George is eating it, while checking on Yankee…… Unfortunately, Yankee is asleep……………… I’m doing my best, yelling to wake up and wave that bobblehead!
Finally, Yankee bobs up and George tries to feed. It took a bit, because he’s in the wrong position and that nestcup is deep’ But he managed to get some bites to her.
Then she fell over on her back. She managed to right herself, but is pooped….and sleeps
Jane comes back…. George left fish in nest….. Jane goes to sit on eggcup and cleans up dropped fish pieces…. I hope something went in to Yankee.
Large, headless breakfish..
@5:45…. George brings largish fish, maybe fluke.
Jane takes and goes…………………………………….she came back in about 15-20 mins, which is an improvement and she brought fish with her,
She went straight to Yankee and eggie and covered them. The fish is right behind her.
@07:28…. Jane got up and flew off with fish…
But she just looped the nest and was right back. Yankee is up and bobbleheading, reminding Jane. She tries but is too far away to reach the target, so she eats most of the fish herself.
Suddenly, the light dawns and she moves closer, getting some fish in to Yankee.
I have a crazy desire to type Yahtzee……. have to keep reminding myself.
Fireworks and a full Buck moon………
(July 5, 12:45am.)
Very noisy in my area…. think I liked the thunder better last night!
Traditionally, the full Moon in July is called the Buck Moon because a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month
What I see so far I don’t think Jane is a good mother. She makes sure she eats not the chick, is it so it doesn’t get big and strong before the second chick hatches?
No it’s just that Jane isn’t as good a mother as other osprey mothers. The first year she was here, if it wasn’t for George there wouldn’t have been any chicks at all. Couldn’t see very much at all last year so was hoping she had gotten better but I agree with you that she isn’t a great mother. Was really hoping she would have gotten better by now. Sure miss Gracie!
George brought a fish… tried to hold but Jane took it…. she flew out once, leaving the fish but returned to pick it up.
When she came back, no fish……………………….
Late day grass delivery…… GN, J & G &Y!!!!! Here’s to a better tomorrow!
Mom should sit on it so the chick might go to sleep. So hard to see it pleading for food.
The chick is looking for food. Don’t think it is getting what it needs.
Sailboats on parade…………………
Happy 4th everyone,
I have a couple of q’s
Has Jane tried feeding Yankee?
Also, is this the latest the eggs have hatched?
Hi Paula, Jane gave Yankee some fish a little while ago. Yes, I believe this is the latest an egg has hatched at this nest.
Thanks for all the replies.
I was worried because the only feeding I had seen was George last night. I know the 12 hour rewind is great but really easy to miss stuff.
My computer has been acting up. It just decided to change everything I know as far as editing pics. Just wanted to show that Jane is feeding Yankee….
Gguessed at one of the tiny pics…..
Jane passes the test!!!!!
George brought a fish @15:05……. As Jane headed towards him, George sidled away. Jane wanted that fish and really had to work to get it…….
Several times, it looked like she was taking off when suddenly, it clicked. And she started feeding Yankee!
George left her to it.
I am annoyed that my system suddenly changed. I can at least now view my pics but still can’t edit. gggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……. hate the black borders…..
George surveying all the boats in his bay…..
Jane dropped from perch……… G went…
Tried going thru my pics from last year to see if Jane was feeding at the start and all I found was view was so much worse than I remembered! Guess we’ll just have to be patient…..
George brings a tailless porgy…..
Tug o’fish over Yankee and she gets slopped by fish……………. Jane takes it to go
About 40mins later, she is on the perch… George awaits…
Jane comes in fishless…….
She did a bit of nestorating….. held my breathe while that log was moving!
Glad George got that stick out of the egg cup
Jane gets rousted by the old stick trick …AGAIN!
Cleared the way… now he can move stick where it belongs….
Yankee had a lovely shell hat for a short time……. George moved that out of the nestcup too
Turned page…. so saying again…………………….
Mary Anne…this could be egg 2 that hatched…it’s possible at day 35….. will see next couple days if other hatches…that would be great if it does..
Tommy…love the names..well for sure we have a Yankee let’s hope doe the Doodle…..
All have a safe 4th….
Success! George gets a couple bites in Yankee. Little bit big and it tires out the kid…
George brought back the last of that fish, Jane flew out.
George moves toward Yankee and manages to get a couple of pieces in her mouth (yes, I know-genderless “her” for ease)
He finishes the fish and sits on the nest
Opps is it Doodle
George brings a nice fish….. Jane takes off with it…
Jane returns with a piece of fish but leaves it sitting on the edge and goes to cover the chick&egg.
George comes and picks up fish.
George comes in for Jane’s morning run…… one baby, one egg…
That’s cute! So for now, we have Yankee…….
Hope you’re both doing well. As always, thanks for all the pleasure you’ve given us! Have a great holiday and good health to you both…
Great idea…Have their parents started to feed Yankee or us I’d Dodd’s?
Everybody, have a safe and social holiday!
This is tommy and christina we should name the babies Yankee and doodle for the 4th of July happy 4th to all ospreyzoners and the family’s who are struggling with this new life we are leading good nite to all we will make it together
very cute idea or Star and Stripe
Hello Tommy and Christina,
Thank you and blessings to you and your family! As Jane and George’s landlord, think you should name 🐣🐣s.
Totally agree!! Happy 4th and THANK YOU for the gift of this webcam.
Many thanks for doing this awesome site for all of us , dear Tommy and Christina. We soooo appreciate you all and your terrific crew and efforts to keep this incredible experience available to us. Your name suggestions are right on!!!!Yankee is here and hopefully Doodle will follow very soon, bless you and this comforting site in these crazy times…
Love the names — they’re perfect!