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osprey 07/11/15 squirt
George and Gracie's First Baby
Eggs Over Easy
Changing of the Guard
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Hard to Get
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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
CONGRATULATIONS….A JOB WELL DONE…THANK YOU
YES! this has renewed my faith in the human race! With all the awful things that are happening in our world, we are so fortunate to have people caring enough to help a baby chick out of a terrible jam. Thank goodness for this Cam, chick would surely not have made it. Thank you Paul, and thank you to all have attended to this nest. I would like to donate as well if we can get the organization that helped today. What a Wonderful World we live in!
Nice work. Thank you. Job well done.
Excellent work Paul…
Chick is clear of tangle and camera squeaky clean.
I returned to my desk at about 6:00 EDT, and a beautiful clear picture, with sleeping birds. I’ll have to look back when I have a little more time.
HOORAY!!! That was fantastic.Great job, Paul and friends.
Thank You Paul. Can you tell us who did this ?
Oh wow. That was quite the experience. My granddaughter and I cheered the minute we saw the lens getting cleaned and I will admit that I shed more than a few tears as I watched them untangle the chicks. It looked like number 2 had been tangled in that long brown shoelace looking thing. Such a relief to know they are ok. Gracie has returned and no one seems worse for the wear.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the freeing of these 2 chicks. These magical birds have truly become a part of our families and I for one am very grateful for your help and assistance in this rescue. Thank you, again! 🙂
6:10 thank you Paul. Where can we donate?
Did they remove the fishing line from the nest. It all happened so fast.
Thank you for helping the osprey you are special
Yeah!!!! Thank you kind hearted people for helping out these chicks!
So glad they were rescued, Thanks to the dedication of many
Paul and for all those who helped thank you thank you thank you that was awesome watching the live video of them untangling the baby. They cleaned out the nest got rid of all the plastic and the wire that was in there both babies are laying completely still at the bottom of the nest now not moving they seem to be a little scared . job well done!! Gracie is on the nest now and watching down below
So happy!! Yay!! Saw the entire rescue process. It’s incredible how quiet the chicks got. Gracie took off I guess once she saw the man who was going to untangle her chick. I can only imagine those two little guys were so scared. But, the rescuer took away all that could tangle them. Thank God!!
Thank you so much Paul!!!! This must have been really scary for everyone, but was amazing to watch!
6:03 rescue complete, clean screen and all
Congratulations!!! Great Job!!
So glad to see the little guy’s leg looked uninjured.
You people are awesome! Thanks to all involved in the helping of getting the fishing line off the chicks leg…it was really tangled and don’t think it would have been able to dislodge it on its own…and thank you for cleaning the lens! Hugs to all!!
Hope i am the first (I know i will not be the last) to say JOB WELL DONE!!!!!!! The rescue team is AWESOME!!!!!!
Thank you Paul!!
i certainly tuned in at the right time, @ 5:54PMJUly 30. heard voices, then WOW what a great job cleaning that lens!!!!
Bless all involved; and, don’t forget, post an address where we can send donations to defray these costs!!
I am so happy for these chicks!!!
Thank you so much for freeing the chick from the fishing line and pulling some of the plastic & string out!!!
bless those people for helping
OUTSTANDING…..Got to watch the rescue….VERY well done!!!!! GOOD JOB to all involved!
BRAVO for that amazing response to that poor bird. A fitting act in light of the extreme cruelty we’ve just experienced with the murder of the lion. Hard to find words to describe what my reaction to what I was seeing up there. So many thanks.
Bless you, Rescuers!
YAY!!!! THE MOST AWESOME THING I EVER SAW!!!!
OK- how many of you were screaming ” IT’S THE OTHER ONE!!!?”
Whomever those guys were- THANK YOU and THANK YOU PAUL!!!!!
I actually did say “Oh no, they got the wrong one” lol 🙂
GREAT JOB DONE GUYS……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THAT WAS GREAT! I am so glad help was able to come. I was not going to comment but I am so happy about this
By the looks on their faces, I’d say they met humans for the first time. And of course, there is the clarity of those expressions. Yay!
5:53 pm they’re there to rescue the baby and they just cleaned the camera lens I am so excited
My prayers are with everybody
Paul, I sure hope they have Windex or something to clean the camera lens with while they are up there. Also, a little Rain-X wouldn’t hurt but they have to know how to apply it. It works great on other cams, but not sure it works too well if they PS on the lens. I’m sure it helps some. lol
I’m in for $50 toward the rescue also.
Can someone tell me what time it gets dark in the evening in New York ?
Please keep in mind WE are concerned with this horrible situation as you are !!!!!
A brief explanation would be appreciated……. TThank You
About 5:15pmE #1 really got in to his flapping exercise. It looked like it was a good thing he was tied down cause he might have been carried away. It’s so windy I don’t know if it would be good for a first flight.
This is nerve-wracking!
I know this is very stressful on the chick, but I feel like it must be ok – it’s eating, and moving around as much as it can. I think this is a good sign. I know it’s been a long wait for a “rescue” but there are so many things to consider – most importantly both chicks in the nest and the human(s) going all the way up there to help. I just wanted to say thanks to Paul for letting the world watch the nest and thank him for all the effort to get help for the tangled chick. It isn’t something that can happen in minutes. Thank you Paul for everything you are doing and have done. Prayers.
I haven’t posted in a while but thought I would put my 2 cents worth in on the subject of the tangled chick. Some people have some very interesting suggestions but one thing to keep in mind beyond what type of equipment to use is it probably needs to be someone who has an idea of what they are doing when handling a bird and one this size. Then the chicks leg needs to be looked at to make sure there is no damage. And ALL the fishing line removed so no one else gets tangled. Just saying ! There is more to it than how to get up there. 1:31 PDT
This family just can’t get a break. Paul posted that help is on the way but the weather is not cooperating. We are having heavy rain, high wind, thunder and lightening till 10 tonight. I live on the north shore about 30 miles west of Mattituck and it just now started to rain heavily. We are having a very dry summer yet we had to have storms tonight!!!! I doubt any rescue can be done under these weather conditions. Guess rescue will have to wait till tomorrow. Chick is being fed and let’s all pray that the fishing line is not doing any damage to the leg. who will make the determination as to if any damage has been done?
Sorry, I’ve had company and been off the computer most of the day….. Count me in for 50.00 also.. just need a name and address,,,
So glad to see that Paul is just posted help is on its way
WOO-HOO!!!!! PAUL SAYS HELP IS ON THE WAY
Great to know help is coming…..it would be nice if who ever goes up there could quickly get rid of some of the other dangerous materials in the nest. I would gladly contribute also if necessary. Thank you for working on the rescue and all your attention to this site.
I wish the happening would be used as an educational film for anglers and fishermen. So you can see which follow her rubbish has.
– And they would have it non-stop watch!
I am in trust at Paul that they rescued the little guy, soon.
But I think is at this day a big problem, or?
Gracie doing a good job shading chicks’ big heads. She’s really bobbing around in that wind! She has had a bit to say…nice to think may be something happening down below?
YYYYAAAAYYYY!!!!!!! Just saw Paul’s comment! Staying glued to comp and hoping feed stays stable!!!!!!!!!!
Must admit to tearing up
Why ???? Today of all days we are about to have this dramatic rescue and the video feed keeps pooping out!!???!!!
Help is on the way.
Hurray!!!!! Hope chick is free soon. Thank you for all the hard work you have put in to getting the chick help. You’re an outstanding man with a heart of gold.
Thank you so much Paul!!!!!!
Yay! You rock!
Yay!! So happy for the chick!!
AWESOME to hear! Thank you, Paul!
Paul thank you so much for staying on top of this. You are a hero. 🙂
Thank you for all of your help.
Thank you so much!! I am so worried about all the wind. I hope it’s a safe rescue for everyone involved. Prayers are being sent!
YOU-DA-MAN!! Saying prayers all will go as planned.
To All: Let’s all stay positive.
Thank YOU, Paul!!
Jan that Archaeologist
God bless you, Paul.
As I mentioned earlier, I will also contribute to the costs incurred.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !
And for all that were concerned THANK YOU !
Blessings to you, the helpers, and the sweet birds. Praying for all to go smooth, and safe for all!
great………I will be watching and I hope all goes well.
Thank you and thank God!
Thank God! Thank you Paul, in all or anxiety over the Chick we must remember to be thankful for all you are doing.
WAAAAHOOOOOO!!!!!! Chick is free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much!!!
OMG!! Yea!! Woopie!! Babies were not afraid at all……well played dead. AND, folks the screen is clean!!
Paul, You are a wonderful to say the least!
Thank you, I would be more than willing to donate as well
Absolute HEROS!!!!!!!!!! yeah!!!!! FREE AT LAST LORD GOD ALMIGHTY I’M FREE AT LAST! THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED! WONDERFUL EFFORT!
I AM SURE PAUL WILL POST ALL THE DETAILS! BUT YEAH YEAH!!!!
Oh My God……..Thank you, thank you, thank you…..
We can see again!!!
Thank you Paul for all that you did !! It was incredible to watch it live. I hope the bird will be able to learn to fly with no issues due to the fishing line!! Thanks so much – I love this web cam and was out to see it a few weeks ago!!
THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO AND ALL YOU PUT UP!!!!
PS Maybe they can clean the camera while they are up there! LOL
NVM Camera lens is finally clear!! Woo hoo!!
Who was the brave soul that freed the chicks foot? Thank you! It looks like it was very windy for you too!
What a masterful rescue. Short, effective, didn’t seem overly traumatic for anyone, potentially dangerous debris removed, and Georgia came back right away. Much pumping in the nest, but some amount of wide-eyed wariness as well. Now we wait to see if George will dive right back into his routine tonight and in the morning!
Yay, is it done yet? Was at work til 6:30. Can you make it one of the highlights?
I had to backtrack, but how wonderful, not only did the baby get free, the camera was cleaned! Thank you so much Paul! Cant wait to see the babies start flapping & learning how to fly.
Can you let us know who did this so we can thank them?
Darkness has set in, haven’t seen Gracie or George all night. Hope they are not spooked by the person who helped the baby get untangled.
The nest surely does look nice cleaned up—and the lens, too.
thank you for helping the ospreys
Thank you for helping. I had never been to your site before. I heard about the rescue in a Livestream chat room for the Cornell Red Tailed Hawks. Well, I just had to come see for myself. I arrived just in time to see the lens cover being washed off. I was in awe of the gentle but sure gloved hand that did the untwisting and line cutting. I wish there were a way to rid the environment of all the debris and litter scattered everywhere. All wildlife would be safer without the loose fishing line, plastic bottles and plastic shopping bags
Thank you again
Thank you, thank you , thank you for saving the chicks, cleaning out the nest AND cleaning the camera lens. We’ll see how long that last!
Good evening Paul, I cannot believe how amazingly clear the camera lense is from all the wonderful rain today!!! I am praying for a successful fix of the chicks foot. Good luck! Have a great night. 🙂
I guess you were surprised to read that the rain came after the cleaning! Hopefully we will get a highlight video of the rescue and housecleaning that happened today. I’m sure you will enjoy!
Love the DVR feature on this cam, that was an awesome rescue, so thankful to all involved and for the opportunity to observe the procedure, the clean cam is a bonus!!
2:54pmEDT George dropped in with a couple of small fish. Gracie was fish. Gracie was feeding #1 when a minnow flipped right in front of #2! He grabbed that to work on while Gr. fed #1. There was a bit of a free-for-all and I don’t know who got what but bottom line, not much fish.
Chick #2 spotted George first and started the alarm call and Gracie chimed in with her song and dance.
7/30 3:30EDT I remember the time on Sunday that Gracie brought in a fish that still had it’s head but was lifeless. At the time I didn’t notice–or pay attention to–what she was dragging, but I wondered where she had gotten a dead fish.
And here in an earlier post, I blamed George for bringing in the line.
I noticed that help is on the way. What we have to remember during this front-seat drama is that no matter how involved we are, trying to save a bird is not worth risking injury to a person. I might not have thought that way when I was younger, and I guarantee that I would probably still cry if I saw Bambi. And when I was five or so, I wouldn’t let my Dad use frogs as bait when we went lake fishing.
6:40 p.m. -The entangled chick just woke up from his shock and he is FINE! Flapping and walking just great.
I’ll give $50.00 also to help with cost of rescue
that is a wonderful idea! i would too!
If there is “Animal Control’ or “Humane Society” in the area they will help. Plus they have people and businesses that donate help free then use it as a tax deduction. It’s really sad to see a full day go by and nothing done but the pain the chick has to endure and maybe damage the leg enough to have to put it down. We don’t know the damage on the inside that could have happened.
If not I will donate.
On full screen you can see string is still wrapped around his right foot, but he is mobile. Let me know if donation site is set up. Always glad to help. Visiting relative in October (Southold) hope to drive by area just to point and say: I watched George and Gracie and their first kids grow up there!
They don’t sedate the chick during a rescue of this type. If I am not mistaken, they would use a Raptor Hood to quiet the bird while they work to free the fishing line. I don’t know what they would do for the other chick except provide a net just in case. As for mom and dad – a helmet and gloves for the rescuer would be necessary.
i hope that the other chick doesn’t freak out and fall out of nest. I think I will check in just before dark and see what is happeing.
The antenna supporting the nest looks quite climbable. Suggest locating and paying the fee to see a couple of professional radio tower climbers up there to handle the job. These guys are young, nimble, efficient, and fearless and ready to go.
With my morning of computer issues I’ve missed feedings. I did scroll back to about 12:50ish to see George bring in headless fish, decent size. I have to admit that I prefer when George beheads them elsewhere. I know, circle of life yadayadayada, but I get squeamish when Gracie starts ripping the face off a still flopping fish….
That must be chick 1 who is tethered because he still is first up to plate at food time. Chick 2 waiting to side and got all perked up when George popped in about 1:10 but I guess there was no food delivery cause he went back to Mom. He got fed and got the end tailpiece. He worked on that for a good while. Any other feedings today will hopefully show up in someone’s posts.
I hope someone is documenting whatever efforts are made today and that a highlight shows up later. We all appreciate whatever you do.
count me in for $50…anything to help baby
I will help donate money too. There has to be a way we can get this baby untangled. Is it possible some sort of construction equipment? There has to be something that can save this baby. What about the equipment used to install camera and nesting box?
I’ll donate $50.00 also…count me in to help this doomed baby…
Any update on when help may come rescue chick?
Count me in for a contribution to save the chick. I have been following them since they hatched. A memorable experience.
I would be more than happy to help out with costs associated with this situation and I’m sure many others would also.
Thinking about you and the chick in this difficult time
ok I get it, but enough already……..we can go to the moon and back a we need and army to help a chick……………….come someone out there is capable of this job…………….Please………
I hope that it does not brake its leg trying to get out.:(
I’m worried about the same thing, MaKenna. Especially in this horrible wind. I think they’ll have to wait until the wind dies down before any type of rescue mission is even started. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to send you updates when you’re gone this week. 🙂
It looks like the chick freed itself (unless I missed the rescue.) It was flapping it’s wings and hopping around and I couldn’t see anything on it’s leg. It’s a little hard to make out detail due to the poop on the screen.
Approximately 11:50 CST George delivered a fish and Gracie is currently feeding the trapped chick. Number 2 is eating now. 🙂
Any updates when a rescue might try to take place?
Is it wishful thinking but it seems chick has moved from right of screen to left of screen and is being fed at 1:02 pm. Does it look like it’s unraveled now? Can anyone see any better?
Paul, if you set up a page or website to except donations I’m in. Just let us all know.
1:00 Thank goodness Gracie is feeding him.
Is there a special crane that could be used, or a Wildlife Rescue League of some type? I can imagine that this is not going to be an easy task to undertake. Sounds like both mother and the other chick would have to be sedated in order to get to the other chick, if this is possible.
This is more common than I would think but other have been rescued from this. I watch another nest at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/osprey-cam and if you scroll down to bottom they show someone cutting fishing line that was tangled. I checked that site this AM and these birds have a glove in their nest now. I have great faith in the operator of this site and looked into these two guys and their hearts are in the right place and will do the right thing. But will take time to not only do it safely for the bird but safely for the guy who has to go up. I have seen the tower and it is straight up 80-100 feet with no room for error. Please be patient with them, yes hard to watch but we must let them do this as safe as possible.
If there is any cost issue on getting a “cherry picker” or other equipment to help the chick…..count me in for $50.00 or more if needed. I am sure many others that watch this find Osprey family would participate.
Poor chick is flapping and jumping in the nest but you can see the stuff still wrapped around it’s leg. It is near fledge age and this is becoming such a urgent situation with each
hour that passes. Hope Paul finds a miracle for this chick soon.
Around 10:22am I saw how accidentally(I think it was just an accident) one of the chick freed the other by flapping the wings and jumping around the line. They both walk and look ok right now. Sorry for any grammar mistakes.
Arround 12:05pm when I was typing the previous post one of them hit the camera again:))))
Chick is still entangled. It can jump and move around a little but if you look at it’s right leg you can still see the fishing line or whatever. It’s movement is limited.
did the chick get that line off of her poor lil leg? haven’t been able to watch much yet today
Pawel: Chick is still caught in fishing line.
I see, I was wrong about my statement. I think I confused which chick was trapped before and became too optimistic…
It seems very windy today which I would think is posing yet another issue in a possible rescue.
What kinda truck was used to put the platform up on the tower? Couldn’t it be used to access the nest?
one would think so……
I would think electric company would be the best bet as they have to get pretty high up. Be glad to contribute $$ if needed. Every minute that passes causes more injury to that leg and the life of the chick. Maybe a helicopter could drop someone down on a line the way they do with rescues. How about coast guard rescue helicopter? Can’t afford to stand around and scratch heads much longer.
Special prayers go out to this poor chick for some intervention to get his/her foot free from whatever is causing the tangle and also to Paul and all involved in making a decision on the type of intervention.