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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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OspreyZone Highlights: George Returns
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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
I checked Sunday the 27 Did not see anybody either. If Sandy is a boy they would travel in the same direction, I have read that somewhere. If not they would travel different routes? If they travel the same direction will George still take care of Sandy?
Thanks To al,l I have enjoyed your comments
Have a Great Autumn. Thanks
No one around all day, I guess Sandy and George have headed south. This has been such a wonderful experience, and I look forward to next spring when George and Gracie return. Good luck to Sandy & Ronnie. Thank you to everyone who made this all possible!
Meant to say – they will occassionally come back to the NEST before they finally leave. Guess they have some instinct that they are about to embark on a long voyage.
I do think everyone is gone now. I have very mixed feelings as does everyone who has been involved with them since birth. Since this is nature’s way, I guess that I am relieved that they took off. Sometimes they take off but back to the before the actual migration so I would be surprised if that happened.
It looks like our family may truly be gone. I haven’t seen anyone in the nest all day!! Going to miss them =(
Godspeed, dear ones. May you have a safe journey.
Around 11:25 am EDT, a Northeastern Mockingbird was on the mini perch. Also, sounds like several were in the no-camera zone. Hence all the different bird sounds.
Have not seen anyone for some time. Believe the whole family has now begun their journey. The colder nights must have told them to get going. Have a safe flight little family. Hope to see George and Gracie next year.
Hardly any comments. Have they all departed? I hope so as it is time. Good winter to all!
I am still hearing Osprey calls on Sterling Creek. Is it possible the juveniles are staying late and may fly to points not so far south?
At 10:30 EST I saw a sparrow or a small bird fly by the nest, it looked like from just below the nest…Does the Moon have anything to do with their Migration? Godspeed…
So sad. Empty nest. I keep checking but it seems Sandy and George left. Hope they make it ok…
I’ve been checking a few times a day but haven’t posted because as you said haven’t see postings.10:18 9/28 hear chirping but it doesn’t sound like Sandy but it could be.
I do believe Sandy and George have gone. Maybe Sandy’s favorite perch breaking off was the final push that he needed. I’m sure George was more than ready to get going. It’s nice to think they may have flown off together.
haven’t seen anyone on nest 9;15am, scrolled back and no one around, last night was a beautiful moon, maybe they started their journey
Well, we can all look forward to seeing George and Gracie next spring!
Fly happy and free, little osprey family, and take our collective love on your wings!
Beautiful and fitting prayer, CarolV. No action in the nest since I scrolled back this morning, and my last sighting of Sandy was early yesterday morning. I guess this might really be it. We knew it was coming, but there will be a big void in our lives until next spring. I thank Paul and Tommy for giving me such an amazing glimpse at nature with these beautiful birds. And, Pope Francis, is correct: We need to take care of our environment. We saw first hand how it causes damage to our feathered friends. I’ll keep watching, just to make sure they have left. Hopefully, George and Gracie will return in the Spring and have another brood. It’s been so great reading everyone’s comments. We’ve been able to connect with our thoughts and sightings.
Around 8:40 i saw 4 big black birds fly across the screen from left to right…. Two of them were osprey… I’m not sure about the other 2…..
Hi everyone. I have not made a comment in a while. I still always check on the nest a couple of times a day. It is just so different right?? There was always action in the nest and now it is hard to find any. How wonderful and sad that it may be done. I always read the comments and enjoy them so much. Thanks again for this terrific experience and thank you all for keeping me up to date on what is happening.
Around 8:00 am EDT Sunday Sandy stopped in the next, she started squawking for a meal when an Osprey flew past over the water (may have been George). She stopped squawking, looked around and then went up onto the camera and chirped a few times. That was the last time I saw her/anyone in the nest or any Ospreys flying over the water.
8:21 am………. I have not seen anyone since early yesterday morning…….. I am hearing various noises and someone is on the camera now but I don’t know who…… I am thinking it could be a crow on cleanup duty……….
Beautiful CarolIV Can I post this on the Missoula nest site. Thanks
The last sighting of Sandy I had was on Sept. 27th very early in the morning where she waited for her service and there wasn’t any. She took off out of the nest and that was the last I’ve seen of her. I have scrolled back every 4 hours ever since, and still no sight of either of them. I have my speakers on full blast and no osprey callings either. I have that Grandma intuition that they took advantage of the north wind on the 27th and started their journey. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. If anyone sees even a hint of them, please post. Right now I do hear other birds, perhaps the cleaning crows, sea gulls, wrens or others up on the perch chatting away considering their winter rental of this nest. As much as I know it was past the time for them to leave, and I’m glad they did if they did, I’m sad for me. : (
I heard Sandy yesterday on the perch. But I have not seen her. I wonder if she has left with George. Maybe the super moon keeping the sky so light helped them on their way.
It looks like Sandy and George flew the coop !
Looking for Osprey at 6:30A. No one around, and no one in the 4hour scroll back. Could they have left by the light of the harvest moon? Stay safe!
7:37 pm PDT I find it sad that so many have given up watching this family until the last has left. And if they have after more than 24 hrs with no new posts some of us would not know. The last post I see after refreshing the page and going down to the last page ( 22 ) was at 8:27 pm Sept 26.. Who knows where this post will end up, maybe below the basement. I have even noticed that the notifications of comments by email no longer come through. Very Frustrating :)))))
Gamma, I’m still watching, but I think postings are now updated only about once a day. I too was looking for updates and scrolling back. Have not seen Sandy in 24 hours. God speed to her and Daddy.
I looked at the video this morning and saw Sandy fly in and out of the nest. However, since then I have not seen any activity. Has anyone seen them during the day? I was not watching the video all day long. Just checked in from about 9:00-12:00 noon, and maybe 3:00-4:00. I scrolled back now for the last four hours and no ospreys were around. Just a beautiful full moon shining on an empty nest. So sad. Wishing them a safe trip, if they have begun their journeys. God speed to them both. Please let all of us ospreyites know if you saw any activity. Thanks very much.
I have not seen Sandy since early this morning. George has not been around since last evening. Have they finally headed south?
Hi Everyone!!! Saw Sandy early this morning in the nest….but have been away from the website the rest of the day. Has anyone seen her in the afternoon?….and did anyone see her come in with a fish??? I have seen her come in with fish before, but she is not consistent. Worried about her. Come on Sandy….YOU CAN DO IT!!!
It is kind of amusing (and a little comforting) to imagine Sandy squawking along behind George, who’s is calling back,,” Keep up, Kid, which ever one you are…only a few thousand miles to go!!!!”
Great visual! If wishes could come true, we would all hope that George can help Sandy along the journey. I love George! What an amazing fellow. If any Osprey can do it, he can!
I may be jumping the gun but I haven’t seen Sandy since early this morning. I’ve checked throughout the day and he is usually back in the nest by now. George is a guessing game. The male, Vic, that I watch at work, usually hangs out at his post, not the nest; so if George is around, we probably wouldn’t see him. I didn’t see Vic yesterday, so if he left, he was right on his schedule.
I’ll “go out on a limb” and send my osprey version of the Irish blessing to speed them on their journey….
May the clouds part before you….
May the sunlight fall softly on you…
May the warm winds rise beneath you…
And may God hold you in the palm of His hand……
Amen, Amen CarolV
That is beautiful Carol. Can I post your blessing on another osprey website. Thanks.
Beautiful, Carol! and Amen to that!
If you haven’t seen this info yet: rare event tonight ;full moon, super moon and eclipse all in one, weather permitting. 10:11pmEDT/ 7:11 for our friends on the West Coast.
Haven’t seen an osprey at the nest all day, it’s now Sunday 3:37EST. Have they gone?
I have been looking for George and Sandy since 7 am. I think they have left. I pray that Sandy makes it. I am pretty sure George will. Be safe my fine feathered friends. I will miss you. Thank you Tom and Paul for this beautiful experience. Hope to see George and Gracie again next year. God Bless everyone on this site and the osprey.
No sign of our guys today at 3:14 & I scrolled back the 4 hours & no sign. Missing comments after yesterday, 8pm. Has anyone seen Sandy or George today?
Saw Sandy about 7:30amEDT. In the nest yelling for room service..our Sandy that we all know and love!!!
Am getting very worried about Sandy. Is this unusual Osprey behavior to still be so dependent on Papa. Will there come a point where George will just leave?
Sandy went hunting for dinner, but came empty-clawed. After some squawking, George came to the rescue and delivered dinner around 6:13 p.m. Wish she would step up to the plate and get with the program.
I’m in touch with an Osprey Project in the UK. I’ve told them about our Ospreys and they were very interested in getting some photos of the Family. If this is possible maybe can send them some maybe an album of some sort
Let me know if anyone wants to get together and see what we can do
I see Sandy still getting Daddy-delivery..George brought in a nice fish about 6pmEDT. Sandy received it in his usual gracious style…
Haven’t had a chance to catch up on rest of 4 hr. scroll or comments.
Looked like Sandy was in and out of nest this afternoon. Took off with fish shortly after starting on it. I’ve been having trouble with the video feed, particularly on scroll back. Goes out of focus or turns to “error” and I have to reboot at LIVE FEED. Comments are backed up so our busy moderator must be on a well deserved break.
It felt like a north wind this evening. Someone ha d mentioned a while back that the birds needed the push of a north wind to impel the travel instinct. Maybe this one will push our kid onward. If he would let George hang for a minute, George could give him directions!
As an addendum, I hope Gracie and Ronnie are having a safe trip. Hope they come here to Florida instead of South America but I can see where they would have more space down south to recoup.
If George keeps sticking around to feed Sandy I have little hope she makes it south. At this point I don’t think he is helping her but rather protecting her to the point that she will not be able to take care of herself. I’m not an osprey so could be very wrong and hope i am. I also hope George gets out in time and good luck to dependent Sandy.
heavy sigh…. Princess Sandy has been brought food today by the wonderful George. When she hangs out in the nest she chirps as the Random Osprey fly by.. It’s windy, but the forecast is supposed to be warm for the next week. What is she thinking? Perhaps she wishes the Random Ospreys would also feed her. I’ve seen her fish- she knows how to do it. She just doesn’t feel like it. It is an almost full moon Saturday night. If she spends the night in the nest we will be able to see her and commiserate with her #PrincessProblems.
Last sighting of chick about 2 hrs ago.
Sandy flies in and out of the nest several times around 6:45 a.m. Finally, George brings her half of a fish around 8:05 a.m. Poor George! I bet he’d love to fly south. But I’m glad he’s still around. I haven’t been online for about a day and was worried about them. Her favorite perch definitely does not look steady anymore. Better hold onto that fish! Uh-oh! There goes the perch when she flies away with the fish. She returns to the nest and is looking like, “Where did my favorite perch go? It was just here.” Now she is having a hard time finding a place where she feels comfortable eating it. Wonder if she has OCD.
Oops, left out 8:38 am
Around 8:38 EDT, Sandy was on the perch with ½ of a fish. When she flew off, with her fish, the perch fell. Even the nest is saying ‘Sandy, time to leave’.
Sandy has to leave now – she lost her training perch!
George brought Sandy a headless fish around 8:00 this morning…..I came in about 8:22 but had to scroll back to see if she caught it herself or if it was a special delivery…I do hope she will be putting wings and a motor and a steering wheel on her nest soon…
Sandy looks so lonely looking over water. Wish I could give her a hug and tell her to be brave.
Can’t seem to load comments since 2 days ago……. See Sandy and George are still here.
7:30amEDT I see that Sandy has been hanging out at the nest for the last 45mins. or so. He’s been calling and I did see an osprey flying around. Whether it was George remains to be seen. Have a good day everyone . Off to work..bah..rather Sandy watch while we can..
Here just long enough to see Dad still on job…fish delivery by George @8:03amEDT>>>Sandy, true to form, squawking his way across the nest to his perch for breakfast
5:44 cst I hear her but dont see her. She must be on perch waiting for breakfast.
And now I see her. 🙂
We r in the DR wifi so so…unbelievable still there..Will George leave before Sandy is ready?…
George is incredible but if he wants to survive he will need to leave sopn.
I’m totally afraid for Sandy. Don’t know if she can do anything for herself when she is forced to leave. Hope I an totally wrong but she seems unable to care for herself. I don’t know if we will ever find out but right now she still seems totally dependent on her dad who will have to leave soon. Good luck to her.
Daddy delivered about 3:00pmEDT. George brought in a good sized fish for Sandy. He got the bums-rush as usual and took off.
Kid was getting cocky holding a still floppy fish over the edge of the nest but he held on, ate for a little while then took off. Other than the cleaning crows, the nest has been empty since.
About 2:45 George brings in a nice fish to demanding Sandy.
2:56 p.m. – 9/25 -Pappa George flies in with a flopper for Sandy.
I guess he does not think the chick is independent enough yet.
George and chick still here. He is some wonderful father.
I see that Sandy was hanging around the nest from about 10amEDT til about 11:30.Did some rearranging. He came back about noon and looked like he was food begging but no delivery.
A lot of strange ospreys flying around at about 4:30. Sandy sent out a lot of warnings. Then, about 5:30 p.m., George showed up with dinner for Sandy. He’s amazing! Talk about being a pampered princess. At least she doesn’t have to rush eating, because Ronnie isn’t there to steal her food. After eating about 3/4 of the fish, she flies away. Guess she left the rest for a midnight snack.
I read a research article on why Ospreys migrate. They don’t migrate because of the Weather the migrate because of the abundance of the Food Supply
There is an Osprey in Mattituck that has not started his yearly migration South
Think about it, Interesting
Scrolled back to see Sandy hanging out. Between 4:30 and 5:00pmEDT there seemed to be two osprey flying around the nest. Couldn’t tell if Sandy was guarding or hopeful that Dad was showing up with a meal!
Just after 5:30pm George did show up with a nice fresh BIG fish to make Sandy happy…Was in and out a couple of times with the fish when another osprey was flying around. Flew out a little after 7pm, probably for the upper perch, leaving a piece of fishtail for the morning.
George delivered a whole fish to Sandy about 5 p.m. She ate and left the nest about 7 p.m. She isn’t there as I write this. She seems to want her breakfast and dinner delivered to her but she provides for herself in between. So she has a full belly for tonight.
A couple hours ago Sandy was in nest protection mode for quite a while….. I saw ( in addition to Sandy ) 3 other osprey all at one time pass the camera view…. based on that I am assuming our little princess is still in the ‘ normal ‘ range….. I think someone posted some time ago osprey have hung around till October…..Since Sandy has no experience flying long distances let’s pray for a late and mild winter……… ( an average of 33 degrees or higher and only an inch or two of snow for the entire winter would be lovely )……
Don’t read Farmers’ Almanac prediction,,,,,,,I agree your suggestion would be GREAT!!!!!!
Looking back, George brought her a fish around 3 ET.
Sandy needs to step it up. George just brought her a nice fish about 5:20 ET. He is a wonderful father. But he needs to talk to his daughter. I haven’t see Ronnie in a while, so I’m assuming that maybe he has left?
about 5:25ish George delivered a fish to Princess Sandy…….She’s going to have a hard time packing the nest into her suitcase for the migration……..
Is Sandy ever going to leave lol She doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. 🙂
Ospreys left their three Sayville nests in August. I wonder why Sandy has stuck around so long?
The one other nest I watch consistently is on a Verizon tower in Cutchogue, just west of East Marion.and Ospreyzone nest. That male was still there yesterday and has left each year for the last 5 right around this time. Off today(I work near that tower) so I won’t see until I go tomorrow what his status is. Think I’ll call him Verizon Vic.
The single fledgling from this year has gone, and of course, the female before that.
The remaining kid is Sandy-Ronnie has not been around for at least 5 days I think. Pray she has a safe journey and returns to this area when she is mature and ready to start breeding. Sandy has very slender legs-Ronnie has heavier legs and of course there is Sandy’s unmistakable voice. She also always was the “nester” of the 2 kids and she still hangs around it and is still eating in the nest. Ronnie honed the skill of eating in tree perches a while ago so if a kid is eating in the nest it is Sandy. Since she has been doing more fishing for herself it could be any day now that she leaves and then George will be off. of course we all pray for their safe journey also. Gracie has hopefully arrived at her winter home by now.
I would like to correct myself – Referring to Ronnie as he, I would like to refer to her female, “Her” as opposed to “he”, as I wrote. I’ve always maintained that both are female.
Judging by North Fork Bob, who is tracked by Rob B.@ospreytrax.com, it takes about 3 weeks for the quicker Spring migration and much longer for the fall return. Gracie is probably on her leisurely way, still, with stopovers and meandering along the way.
Lunch brought in by Papa George at 12:38. I do hope young one realizes there are no take out deliveries on the migration route!
Does anyone know if it would beyond reality to think that perhaps Sandy would follow George on the trip? Has it ever been reported that 2 osprey would travel together, family or not? I know that it is said that kids somehow rise to the occasion and fish themselves (or they will starve) while on migration, but this Sandy seems so needy. I find it mind boggling that this needy bird would and can migrate all the way to South America all alone. Osprey are just so awesome in that regard. I do believe, since I have not seen any sign of Ronnie in 2 days, that he’s gone. Has anyone seen him?
Some fly together but it’s very rare, the juveniles and parents don’t travel together, even if they did, the father can’t fish for two birds while traveling, when they fly over water they can’t land anywhere, sandy will be fine, they are made to catch fish, George is there just getting fish for her still, he’ll probably leave soon and sandy will be forced to fish or she can leave later and head south.
Fish for him and sandy i mean.
12:50 EST someone with long legs eating fish next to perch. Not sure who it is but looks like the smaller of the two teens. Beautiful day. eating peacefully.
Good morning everyone. The sounds of Sandy. If it is Sandy, she is fussing up a storm over something. I wonder if she is calling George. I sure have enjoyed this family, to be able to see them so close and personal. Many thanks to you Tommy for sharing this beautiful family, watching the chicks grow up to be beautiful teenagers, and experiencing all the adventures and events of the family. For me it has been a good and sometimes emotional experience to watch the family. I look forward to the return of George and Gracie, and hope they learn from their past experience of building and maintaining their nest.
Thank you, your kind words and all you have done for not just me, but countless others does not go unappreciated. I posted 🙂
I noticed that there was a comment about lowering the tower to lower the nest. May I suggest if possible adding a perch visible to the camera as many of the other nests have. Just a suggestion