12 August 2009

It appears the osprey have left our nest on Hilton Head Island and headed south to Central or South America. The parents, Benecio and Bella, and one of their offspring, MG, may have left a few weeks ago as I had not seen them in a while. GJ on the other hand hung about on the nest and I believe finally vacated it about a week ago.

This past season began a bit earlier than others with the osprey arriving January 15, only to find a pair of Red Tail Hawks enjoying the view from the communications tower. The male osprey was the first to arrive and the female followed in short order. We were a bit concerned with their early arrival due to the cold weather that was to follow. Both ospreys began renovating the nest from last year while chasing off other osprey looking for a home, possibly offspring from past seasons. For about a week three ospreys were seen on the nest, two of them our couple, but the third we could not distinguish, as we never could make out its head markings. It could have been a young male attempting to steal the female away.

After two weeks of nest rebuilding the osprey couple began mating and about five weeks later the first egg was laid March 7, the second egg March 10, and the third egg March 12/13. Both parents were very attentive to their eggs as opposed to last season. The parent osprey appeared much calmer and mature. The female never left the nest during thunder and lightning storms, where last year she abandoned her eggs during cold stormy days and in the end the eggs didn’t hatch.

On April 14th the first chick, GJ, hatched (38 days), the second chick, MG, hatching on April 16th (37 days), and eventually the third chick, DS, hatching April 18th (37/38 days).
The chick’s quick growth was quite astounding for us as this was the first season we have been able to see osprey chicks develop. Palmetto Electric has had the osprey nest on the communications tower since 1989, but the webcam had only been installed in 2007. In 2007 the osprey couple, Ollie and Olivia, had three eggs with no luck in any of them hatching. In 2008 Ollie and Olivia were driven out from the nest with our current couple taking over. The new couple had the same result, three eggs – no hatchlings. Our third cam season proved to be successful even though the third chick, DS, died after its fifth week on the nest.

Throughout the season the male provided a generous amount of fish for his family and the osprey chicks grew into juveniles. As time approached for the young ones to fledge they flapped about the nest, practiced hard and strengthened their wing muscles. MG, the second chick, was the first to fledge with GJ following along about one week later. In time both juveniles were flying about and landing effortlessly on the nest.

We held a contest for our blogger’s to name the osprey couple and the winning names, submitted by viewer Katt, are Bella and Benecio.

Many viewers asked why we haven’t banded the osprey. The osprey nest is located atop a one hundred foot tower, which also resides within a quarter mile or so of our local airport. The communications tower, which is regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), is required to have a technician that is certified with antenna, tower climbing, and rescue skills. The problem is we don’t know of anyone in the area that is certified to climb our communications tower and also knowledgeable of osprey to band them.

With our osprey season now at a close we at Palmetto Electric would like to thank all of our cam viewers and blog participants for a successful year. We had a great time building our own osprey community and to want express appreciation to the local group of viewers that were able to gather to discuss our resident osprey. We are considering streaming audio/video for next season, but that is dependent upon equipment cost. The blog will remain open for commenting and the camera will continue operating unless we have maintenance to perform. Again, a very big thank you to all for this past 2009 osprey season and your participation.

MG - moderator


Anonymous said...

Once again I want to thank MG (moderator) and all the others at Palmetto Electric who had a hand in providing the osprey camera and blog. It has been a productive and very enjoyable season. I plan to continue checking the site to see what is happening at the nest and what comments others are making (habits are hard to break) and look forward to January (or so) when Bella and Benicio return.

It is a little sad to see the empty nest, but I was beginning to think that our GJ would not leave and fly south. It seems that all is well.


Anonymous said...

As a viewer of the webcam from last year and this year I would like to thank you and Palemetto Electric for allowing us to view the osprey cam. It has been exciting, saddening and a great joy to be part of this osprey family. And I am looking forward to the 2010 season. I will definitely be tuned in and watching. I'll keep my fingers crossed for live audio/video for next year. Let's all wish our ospreys a safe journey to South America!!!!!
Everyone let's give our moderator and Palemetto Electric a big round of applause!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mary pat :)

Anonymous said...

Two crows on the nest just now give some perspective as to the size of the nest. Crows are a pretty good size, but look rather small on the (very)large nest. I've seen sparrows flying around and landing on the Woods Hole nest and they look tiny. Good to see a little activity, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great season of viewing Bella and Benicio and the developing chicks. Thanks, too, for your informative facts about ospreys and your responsiveness to inquiries. You've done a great job. I do hope we will have streaming video next year. Is there any way we could have a contribution fund to help insure the equipment is available? Just a thought - bet there are many willing to donate, including myself.

Toni said...

I am sorry to have been delinquent in adding my comments from time to time, but have been away some and just haven't done it.

I just want to add my thanks to MG and all the folks at Palmetto Electric for a wonderful season of watching the ospreys. I love the names chosen. The recap of the season, MG, was excellent!!!

Realist said...

Better late than never, kudos to MG and rest of Palmetto staff responsible for a wonderful season of osprey viewing and blog comments and information. Appreciate MG's season summary very much!!

If anyone is interested, have been watching the saga of a osprey juvenile in Finland who has a badly injured leg. It's touch and go how this will play out. Wonderful photos taken by forum members, also.

Here's the cam URL:


Here's the forum URL:


See y'all in March 2010!! Looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for leaving the webcam up throughout the year and for a successful 2009 season!

I've been checking the site but so far haven't seen any visitors :-( to the nest.

I'm looking forward to seeing the changes of the season in your area. Where I live, the temperature is the same throughout the year.

Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Koo, the injured osprey chick in Finland has been rescued. He/she was found in a ditch by a hunter, police were called and then taken to the Ranua Zoo. This is good news for Koo and all of us who have been watching his/her saga.
Now at least Koo will have a much better chance of surviving and hopefully be set free. Here is a email reply regarding Koo:
Dear Jo,

thank you for your e-mail. As you can guess, lots of people has been contacting me today! I can not answer them all, but if You could be so kind and inform Looduskalender for my behalf.

So at this point the situation is like, that the bird arrived last night to our Wildlife Park. I give some fish and nutrientliqued to it (I needed to force him/her to eat.) This morning Koo was a bit more "fresh" and ate (swallowed freewillingly) the fish when I put it to its beak.

Now we are waiting for veterinarian to look at the bird. And just hope it will start to eat by him/herself and get stronger.

If it's OK with you, I could inform you about Koo's situation as soon as we know? And you could inform members of looduskalender.

Kind regards,

Mari Heikkilä
Ranua Wildlife Park

Mary Pat :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mary Pat, for the good news about Koo. I hope his injured leg can be repaired and he can be released to live the life he should. Kudos to the hunter who cared enough to call the police and to the officer who took Koo to the wildlife park. I hope you will post here if you get updates.


Realist said...

Have been closely following the KOO saga, also. For those of you who are interested, here are the links to the two forums which discuss the situation in depth.



2. looduskalender.ee



Anonymous said...

Yes Koo is an international star. I'm sure she is included in everyone's prayer for her quick recovery.
Huge thanks to the hunter and the Oulu police who were instrumental in rescuing Koo.

Anonymous said...

Is the cam down?

Anonymous said...

For all that were interested I read some sad news today on the looduskalender blogger website. (here is the link for all who are interested; http://www.looduskalender.ee/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=107&p=46019&hilit= Koo was euthanized. I copied a pice of a blog but be sure to go to the blog website and read for yourself. I was very saddened when I read the news.
There was a news from YLE (Finnish radio) from 17:59. Description of the condition and situation of of Koo, soemthing about the results seen from x-ray of Koo's legs. I hope someone who can better English than me could translate the news. Anyways it is told that the knee, or leg of Koo had been broken sometime before time (?), "the doctor said that bones had ossified in the wrong position. The bones were so fragile be cause of lack of calcium (?), so it was impossible to make surgery operation".. well.. There is also recorded interview of Ranua Zoo's Intendent (Curator?)Mari Heikkilä to be listened in Finnish, 4,30 minutes.

:( Mary Pat