29 February 2012

Not much going on with Bea and Jasper at the moment. They are bringing in a few items to the nest, but neither is doing much to gather the nesting material together to create a bowl shape for potential eggs. Guess housekeeping is not one of their strong suits.

23 February 2012

Bea and Jasper continue to struggle with the curved stick on the nest. They've stripped all of the small twigs from the stick, but haven't quite figured out how to position it on the nest so it doesn't interfere with them.

The first pair that was on the tower is still attempting to recover the nest, but Bea is chasing them off. Jasper and Bea need to start tiding up the nest.

21 February 2012

Bea and Jasper, our pair from last year, have returned forcing out the first pair on the nest. Both Bea and Jasper benefited from the first couple's work of gathering moss, pine cones, and sticks. Jasper has already added to the nest while both are breaking twigs and straightening up the nest for the upcoming season.

Bea and Jasper have mated at least five times today. Maybe this year their nest building will be better than last year's. They off to a good start and hopefully they'll continue to build up the nest.

We hope to get the gallery up and going later this week with a few pictures from the 2012 season. 8-)
Yesterday, we noticed that the new pair of ospreys fighting for control of the nest against another pair. As of this morning we have the second pair on the nest. The newest pair could be our couple from last year, Bea and Jasper, as some of their markings are similar. As we obtain new photos we will compare the latest photos against last year's pair to see if we indeed have a match.

14 February 2012

The new pair on the tower has begun to mate as of today - that we have noticed.

Courtship in ospreys centers on food and nest sites. In migratory osprey populations, males and females arrive at the nest site separately, the male often arriving several days earlier than the female. Male ospreys sometimes perform a conspicuous aerial display near the nest site. This display usually occurs during early courtship, and may serve to attract potential mates or to threaten an intruder. Both sexes collect materials for the nest, but the female does most of the arranging of materials at the nest. Osprey nests are typically constructed of sticks, and lined with softer materials such as seaweed, kelp, grasses or cardboard.

Once a pair has established a nest, the male begins to deliver food to the female. Generally, females that receive more food are more receptive to mating attempts by the male, and are less likely to copulate with other males. Females beg for food from their mates, and occasionally from neighboring males if they are not well fed by their mate.

The breeding season of ospreys differs between populations. Non-migratory populations breed in the winter and spring, laying eggs between December and March. The breeding season of migratory populations occurs in the spring and summer, with egg laying in April and May.

08 February 2012

The male osprey that has been frequenting our nest the past several days appears to be new to the platform. We don't have any photos from 2008 - 2011 of a male osprey with the same head markings as this male.

A few new materials such as pine cones and twigs are appearing on the nest so the new male is attempting to take ownership of the platform for the 2012 season. The new male will have to defend the nest if last year's couple returns.

01 February 2012

We have our first osprey of 2012 on the nest at 2 p.m.

2012 Osprey Season

We want to welcome all of our cam watchers to a new osprey season at Palmetto Electric. This year marks our sixth web cam season from Hilton Head Island, SC and the fifth season for the osprey blog where our viewers can post comments about our nest and other osprey sites around the world.

Our nest is located on Mathews Drive and sits upon a 100 foot communications tower. The tower is situated within a quarter mile or so of our local airport. A beacon light to the right of the cam glows intermittently at night; therefore, we do not broadcast night images due to the glare of the beacon. The ospreys don’t seem affected by the beacon’s illumination since they’ve been nesting on the platform since the mid 1980's. Before the platform was installed the osprey built nests on the cross arms of the tower which often came apart and fell to the ground.

In the past viewers have asked why we don’t band the osprey. 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 there isn’t anyone in the area that is certified to climb our communications tower and also knowledgeable of osprey to band them.

Last year we had a new adult pair, named Bea and Jasper, at the nest with their two chicks, MKD and TE, successfully fledging. Over the last few years we have had new pairs take control of the platform so we’ll have to see if Bea and Jasper return or if a new couple settle on the tower.

If you’re new to ospreys, check out our Osprey FAQ page as well as our Osprey Photo Gallery for pictures from past seasons.

Thanks for joining us and we hope to see another successful osprey season!