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.


Anonymous said...

Looks like they have certainly been working on the nest. A good improvement. If they are last year's cou;e then they have learned a few things about nestorations.(Still wish we had a better view of the whole nest but very grateful for what we can see :)). Have you been able to determine if they are last year's couple? If not we could be in for some drama. (Norfolk Botanical Gardens is having a time with multiple females who have all mated with the male. That should be very interesting to see what happens). I imagine most of the migratory birds have not yet arrived so this we could actually seen some drama. I for one hope for a calm season with lots of babies!!!!
Mary Pat, Adamstown, MD :)

moderator said...

Hey Mary Pat,

I've looked through all the photos that we've collected and have determined that the male and female are new to the nest.

As far as the camera is concerned, we have narrowed down our search for new equipment. The cost of quality equipment and to provide streaming capabilities is a factor. We do intend on upgrading our system, though I am not in a position to say when.

We agree with you Mary Pat that we hope for a calm season with lots of babies!!! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Moderator, could I get a bit of a clarification on times of egg laying? In your February 14 comments, you say that migratory osprey lay eggs in the spring and summer, April and May. That seems later than I remember egg laying in this nest, and I believe these couples have been considered migratory. Do you think this couple will be "flirting" and working on the nest for two more months? I am so anxious to see eggs, it will be difficult to wait so long. Thanks for the information on new camera equipment. Any improvement will be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Male on nest at 9:56am EST
Mary Pat :) Adamstown, MD

moderator said...

Hey Vivian,

The last post was for ospreys in general. You are correct that generally this nest has seen eggs laid in March. Hilton Head has a few osprey hang around year round and our nest along with nests in Florida (southern territories) produce eggs a bit earlier than our northern states.

If past history repeats itself we should have eggs in March and this new pair has a lot of work ahead to prepare the nest. We too are anxious to see a family of ospreys this season.

Anonymous said...

In the years that the web camera has been operating, we have had different pairs occupy the nest, and it looks as though we'll have a different pair this year. I thought that ospreys returned to the same nest. Is that right or is it usual for the nest to have multiple occupants?

moderator said...

Ospreys generally return to the same nest or the same area. Returning pairs usually use the same nest so they don't need to rebuild a nest from scratch.

In past years prior to the public web cam, we had a returning pair, Olivia and Ollie, for many years. This pair produce many offspring over several seasons. As we do not band the osprey residing on the tower, we were not able to age Olivia and Ollie. Since the 2007 season, we haven't seen them.

In the last few years we have witnessed several new osprey gaining rights to the nest. The only returning osprey we have had since then is Benecio, the male from the 2009 season. We never saw Bella, his mate, on camera. Our nest has had a lot of drama which we attribute to no dominant pair returning to the platform.

There are many osprey nests that have returning pairs, ours in the last few seasons has not been one of them.

Anonymous said...

Dunedin (FL) Osprey nest, first egg this am.


Carol said...

Nice article on our osprey nest in today's Island Packet!

moderator said...

Local osprey article from the Island Packet... http://www.islandpacket.com/2012/02/16/1967210/osprey-bring-signs-of-good-health.html

Thanks for the heads up Carol. 8-)

swampnan said...

I am happy thinking of another year of ospreys! Here is a web address for bald eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. They, too, are in the nest building stage.

Enjoy! Nancy