04 July 2013

2013 Osprey Season

We had another successful season at our osprey platform with Bea and Jasper returning for their third year. The pair was patient with us as we installed a new camera, which provided a full view of the nest (no more panning back and forth). Our pair arrived mid February and immediately began preparing the nest. This year both Bea and Jasper constructed quite the nest as their parenting skills have much improved. 

Three eggs were laid on March 13, 16, and 19. The first chick, KG, hatched April 22nd, the second chick, JB, hatched April 23rd, and the third chick never hatched. This year was the first for us where the two siblings didn’t have much rivalry between themselves. As in previous years, Jasper provided their young with plenty of fish. 

KG and JB grew quickly and JB was the first to fledge 58 days after hatching on June 20th. KG fledged 60 days after hatching on June 21st. Bea and Jasper, KG, and JB are still nearby, just out of view of the camera. They all will most likely migrate soon or in August. 

We want to thank all of our osprey viewers and bloggers in joining us watch Bea, Jasper, KG, and JB. It’s always nice to interact with our viewers and to get a peak of the wildlife on the island. The camera will still be in operation as well as the blog so keep your posts coming. Thanks for another successful osprey season and have a great summer!!

24 June 2013

Now that KG and JB have fledged, they will spend the next few weeks strengthening their bodies and learning to fish for themselves. The success rate for fishing is affected by individual ability, weather and tide. KG and JB will need to hone their skills as their parents may only continue to feed them for several more weeks.

The juveniles resemble the adults in almost every aspect, but their dark back feathers are white-tipped, their eyes are orange, and they tend to have fewer markings on their chests (necklace). Juvenile plumage is generally replaced by adult plumage be 18 months of age.

Most likely the ospreys will migrate further south to Georgia, Florida or to South America. Since Hilton Head is on the edge of the year round/breeding area, we do have a few osprey winter here. Ever since our web cam has been in operation (2007), we’ve yet to see osprey on the platform during the winter months.

21 June 2013

The osprey gallery has been updated with 42 new photos. Hope you enjoy them.
At 7:45 am today KG finally fledged.  Will see how he/she fares upon its return to the platform.

KG returned to the platform seven minutes after taking off.  JB's greeted KG's return with much squawking and wing flapping.  They both seem to be sizing up the other now.

20 June 2013

JB fledged this morning at 6:53 a.m.  Upon his/her return to the platform at 9:18 a.m., KG seemed flustered and jumped on top of JB.  I suppose a bit of sibling rivalry.  KG still hasn't left the nest as of this post - only lifting itself about three feet above the platform.

17 June 2013

It could be any time now for KG to fledge as the juvenile flapped its wings and hovered over the nest for almost 10 seconds.

14 June 2013

Both KG and JB have been fervently flapping their wings and jumping around the platform this past week.  It could be any time now that one or both take the momentous flight off the platform.

The length of their first flight remains to be seen as the nearest trees from the platform is about 100 feet or so, the height of the tower. Their first attempts at flight may be short lived as they soon become tired and look for a place to perch. As KG and JB gain confidence in flying and landing, they will remain at the tower with Bea and Jasper.

10 June 2013

KG and JB have developed into beautiful juveniles and are soon approaching their first flight, also known as fledging. The normal fledging time ranges between 8 - 10 weeks, sometimes as early as 6 weeks, and as of today KG is 42 days old and JB is 41 days old.

As their first flight time nears, both birds will increase their wing flapping which causes them to become stronger. They may also be observed jumping up and down until a gust of wind will carry them off the nest beginning their first flight. Jasper and Bea will not teach KG and JB to fly, they will fly instinctively.

It's important for KG and JB to fly as much as possible after fledging as they all will make their Central or South America trip alone, provided they do migrate. As mentioned in previous posts, Hilton Head does have some osprey year round, though since we do not band ospreys on our communications tower we are not sure if any of these yearly osprey are from our nest.

From the photos it appears that KG is female (1st photo) and JB being male (2nd photo). The "necklace" on KG is quite prominent, but not always a good indicator of a juvenile osprey's sex. Chicks can start out with a necklace, but lose it as they mature. The better indicator will be its size (3rd photo). Females average about 15–20% larger in body mass than males, and 5–10% longer in wing, tail, claw, and bill length. In addition, females tend to have fuller, darker breast-bands and darker heads than males.

I added photos to the gallery. Check them out!

07 June 2013

Tropical storm Andrea has passed and our osprey family is doing well. Our area is under tropical storm warnings until 1:45 p.m. The storm's center passed over Bluffton, just west of Hilton Head, this morning after 4 a.m. Fishing for Jasper may be a bit more difficult, but I'm sure he'll do fine providing for KG and JB.

29 May 2013

I am going on vacation beginning May 30th for a little over a week. I’ll be checking the blog for posts when I have access to a computer so keep your posts coming.  In the meantime enjoy Jasper, Bea, KG, and JB.

24 May 2013

Just a note for Memorial weekend to wish all of our viewers and bloggers a fun-filled and safe holiday. KG and JB are so well fed that they now have fish lying about the nest.

Have a great weekend!!!

20 May 2013

It's now one month since KG broke through its shell. KG and JB are looking very good. JB was seen this morning moving sticks around the nest copying Bea.

This is the first season that we haven't had much aggression between the chicks. With JB hatching one day after KG, JB's proximity in hatching and size has been its advantage in competing for food. That's not saying KG hasn't tried intimidating its sibling.

We have at least another month to go before the two will fledge, but about two weeks prior to fledging we should see them strengthening their wings by flapping them and also see them jumping up and down.

Photo of JB.

13 May 2013

It's now been three weeks since KG hatched and both chicks appear to be doing well. They are now growing their pin or blood feathers. From the Dennis Puleston Osprey site.... Feathers start replacing down at about 2 wks of age...pin feathers begin to appear on the head and neck. Darker body feathers follow, with primaries, secondaries and wing and tail feathers at about 3 wks of age.

09 May 2013

Twenty new photos have been added to the gallery. Click here to view.

07 May 2013

In the photo below you can see the "crop" on JB, chick standing up.

Ospreys are diurnal raptors (active in the daytime), and all raptors of this type have a special organ called a crop, which is a swelling at the base of the esophagus that forms a storage area where food can be held for later digestion. When the chick's crop develops over the next couple weeks, it will look like a small bulging protrusion on the chick's chest, and its presence will make life easier for the whole family. For the chick, the crop means the little bird can quickly swallow food that its siblings might want, and for the adults it means the chick can go longer between feedings.

Besides storing food for later consumption, the crop also stores indigestible material -- like bones and scales. These unusable fish pieces are captured in the crop and eventually molded into pellets that are later regurgitated.

Information from Dennis Puleston Osprey Cam Message Board.

02 May 2013

The photo gallery has been updated with 18 new pictures.

01 May 2013

Looks as though Jasper has found a nice fishing hole. Below is a photo of Bea feeding KG and JB, left to right, a bit of Sheepshead, which I understand are not the easiest to catch.

30 April 2013

KG and JB are coming along nicely with their development. KG, the one upright, is slightly larger and is beginning to show dominance over JB. The third chick has still not hatched and today marks the 42nd day since the egg was laid.

With KG and JB being further developed, I don't believe the third chick would survive if it does indeed hatch.

28 April 2013

The third chick has yet to hatch, which may be for the best in the long run. If it does hatch it would be at a great disadvantage to its older and stronger siblings.

26 April 2013

Today marks the 38th day since the third egg was laid. Hopefully we'll see the third chick soon, which will have a disadvantage to its siblings.

24 April 2013

We have our second chick, JB.

JB hatched either last night or this morning which would make 38/39 days since the egg was laid.  

23 April 2013

I am pretty certain I saw the chick moving inside the egg so the second chick could hatch some time this afternoon.
From what I noticed earlier this morning, one of the remaining eggs has a hole in it. It could be the second chick attempting to hatch. Hopefully the egg/chick is not damaged. We'll soon see.

22 April 2013

Update: Bea finally got up long enough for us to catch a glimpse of the back of the chick, KG.

We believe we have our first chick!!! It hatched around 12:20 this afternoon. The chick will be named KG.  The arrow is pointing to what looks to be part of the egg shell.

I've been delaying the post to get a photo of the chick, but Bea is keeping the remaining eggs and chick warm since it is in the upper 50's.

Today marks the 40th day since the first egg was laid. We could see a chick any time now. The eggs will hatch in the order that they were laid.

18 April 2013

Over at Friends of Blackwater....


While our ospreys are making good progress on the nesting material, we're still puzzled that they're allowing a pair of Great horned owls on the nest at night. We're not sure what will happen once an egg is laid, but hopefully the ospreys will be able to chase off the owls for good.   Go to their site

11 April 2013

Since not much is happening on our nest I thought I'd link to a video of osprey's fishing:


09 April 2013

We’re one day away from 4 weeks since the first egg was laid on March 13. The other eggs were laid March 16th and 19th. Last year the two eggs hatched after 39 and 38 days. The third chick never hatched.

Bea and Jasper have been steadfast with incubating the eggs, so we are anticipating late April for the chicks to appear.

02 April 2013

With Bea and Jasper incubating their three eggs, let’s see what’s going on at other nest sites.

The Dunedin nest had their first egg laid March 16. No other updates on their website about egg activity.

Blackwater Refuge may have competition for the nest.

A pair of Great Horned Owls and their two chicks have taken over the osprey nest at Kentucky Environmental Education Projects

Over at the Loch of the Lowes, Lady has returned

The Rutland Ospreys are settling in at Manton Bay.

25 March 2013

At 10:49 this morning, Bea chased off an osprey from landing on the platform. Couldn't tell if the osprey was male or female. There are other nests in the area, but they are already occupied by pairs. This may be an osprey looking for a mate or one that is migrating north.

22 March 2013

Now that the three eggs have arrived, Bea and Jasper will spend the next 5 – 6 weeks incubating their eggs. It is possible Bea could lay another egg, but since we’ve had the cam on our platform, we have never had more than three in a clutch.

Both Bea and Jasper are doing a good job of caring for their eggs and continue bringing material to the nest.

19 March 2013

Bea has laid her third egg around 12:30, Tuesday, March 19.

The osprey gallery has been updated with the latest photos, http://www.palmetto.coop/galleryosprey/spry/demos/gallery/index.html#

18 March 2013

We have a second egg! Bea laid the egg between 11:43 a.m. and 2:08 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

16 March 2013

As of 7:35 a.m. Saturday, Jasper was incubating one egg.

14 March 2013

With cooler weather upon us, Bea and Jasper will have to keep their first egg warm. Both parents have a brood patch, an area of bare skin under their breast feathers. Males have a smaller ‘hot-spot' than the females; however, the female ospreys have a larger area with many vessels that can be suffused with blood whenever the egg temperature falls. This instinctive ability allows the ospreys to sense temperature changes within the eggs and to control it within the nest through their own body methods.

Both the male and the female brood the eggs for about 5 - 6 weeks; however, the female does most of it and she relies on the male to feed her during this time.

The average clutch consists of 3 eggs, but 1 to 4 eggs are possible. The eggs are creamy white to cinnamon with dark brown or reddish-brown spots. The eggs are slightly larger than chicken eggs, measuring about 6.2 x 4.5 cm (2.4 x 1.8 in) in diameter and weighing about 65 g (2.4 oz).

It appears we have our first egg! I was off work yesterday, so I missed the event, but one of our viewer's, Beth, saw the egg yesterday evening. I'll try and get a close-up photo of the egg when Bea re-positions herself. The viewing time extended to 7:30 pm.

07 March 2013

Photo of Bea and Jasper.

Bea and Jasper are making good progress on the nest in the last few weeks. One of the posters asked about competition for the nest and we really haven't had much of that up to this point. A few years back, 2010 to be exact, competition was quite fierce that no pair occupied the nest.

Bea and Jasper appear to be in a nice rhythm, moving sticks and spanish moss around the platform. Bea has been spotted several times pressing her body into the nest, making sure it's just right.

25 February 2013

From the photos we took last week, it appears that Bea and Jasper have returned for their third year at our platform. This pair has a total of four offspring that fledeged, two in 2011 and two in 2012. In 2011, the chick, MT, died in it's 5th week and last year the third chick, which would have been called TN, never hatched.

The pair appears to be on schedule arriving at the nest between the second and third week of February. In 2011 eggs were laid March 25th, 28th, and 31st. In 2012, Bea laid eggs on March 24th, 26th, and 29th.

So we could possible see a clutch in a months time if the pair sticks to their timetable. As in the past two seasons, there is much work to be done to have the nest ready for eggs.

22 February 2013

Welcome to the 2013 Palmetto Electric Osprey Season

We want to welcome everyone to a new osprey season. We finally got our new camera and a new bracket to re-position the view to encompass the entire platform, which means we don't have to pan the camera to follow the ospreys. We'll still zoom in to get the close up, personal shots.

We are still tweaking the new camera settings so your patience is appreciated with our tinkering.

For the past seven years, Palmetto Electric viewers have enjoyed watching an osprey family from our 100-foot communications tower located on Hilton Head Island.
While we were installing the camera yesterday, we took some photos of the pair that is occupying the platform. I've yet to compare those pictures from last year's couple to verify if they are the same pair. I should post that next week.

We hope you're able to check back often and enjoy watching their progress.