28 July 2015

2015 Osprey Season

With the approach of August our osprey season is coming to a close. Our osprey family: Bea & Jasper and their three offspring (AA, DG, and WG) are still in the area. They are frequenting nearby trees more than occupying the platform.

The juveniles seem to be well and have been catching their own fish. Often the three can be seen helping themselves to their sibling’s bounty if they’ve missed a meal. The juveniles must master their fishing skills prior to their fall migration as they will be self sufficient on their southward journeys.

To recap our season Bea arrived February 2nd and Jasper arrived on the 10th. The pair quickly got to work preparing the nest for their pending clutch with the first egg being laid March 2nd. The second and third eggs arrived March 5th and 7th.

The eggs hatched:

April 10th - AA
April 12th - DG
April 13th - WC

As the chicks grew so did tension between DG and WC. DG relentlessly attacked WC often biting the smallest chick to the point that the chick frequently had open wounds. I have to say I didn’t give WC much hope of surviving. But the strong will chick held on and survived. This year marks the first time since we installed the camera that three chicks fledged.

DG fledged June 9th with AA fledging the week of June 15th. With its older siblings off the nest WC was able to eat more fish becoming stronger and heal. WC fledged June 27th.

As always we want to thank our viewers and blog participants. The camera remains pointed at the platform so we can view the bits and pieces of this year’s osprey season any other wildlife that may frequent the platform.

Have a great 2015 !!!  :)

09 July 2015

AA, the oldest, on the platform taking a break from eating a flounder.

07 July 2015

Jasper recently brought a fish in for WC. Most of the time the osprey family is located in nearby trees and is maintaining ownership of the nest.

02 July 2015

It appears that WC fledged on the morning of June 27th. Since 2007, when we began broadcasting views of our osprey nest, we have had only two chicks survive and fledge each year. So we are extremely pleased to have all three chicks fledge this season. I have to admit I didn't have much hope for WC surviving the relentless attacks from DG. The will to survive is very strong in WC.

The family currently occupies nearby trees and lower sections of the tower while not in view of the camera. All three juveniles are staying close to their parents and perfect their fishing and fling skills.

Migration for juveniles will be their biggest challenge as they will face many obstacles including emaciation, electrocution, bad weather, habitat loss and misdirection. The juveniles will travel alone with little fishing skills and only inherit navigation knowledge. It has been reported that less than half of migrating juveniles live long enough to breed, which is at three years of age. Despite all the obstacles osprey face the total population survival rate is quite high and continues to grow.

In past seasons the osprey family has departed mid July to early August so we have a few weeks left to our 2015 season.

23 June 2015

WC in the above picture has been quite active with flapping its wings and jumping about the nest today. Hopefully a sign that this juvenile, that has endured so much, may soon fledge.

Just a note to our bloggers... I'm beginning a vacation tomorrow afternoon, but will check in to post any comments.

Updated 6/24/15
Another flounder for WC

19 June 2015

AA finally fledged this past week so WC is the last juvenile to take flight.

WC's feathers are returning on its upper back where DG tore them off. We anticipate WC fledging later than its siblings due to it being the runt of the three chicks. 

When the osprey family is not in view of the camera they often are sitting on antennae out of the camera's view, on a nearby tree, or on lower sections of the tower itself.

12 June 2015

AA, the oldest of the three, hovered over the nest for a period of time so this juvenile might be fledging soon.

10 June 2015

From left to right - WC, AA, DG (top) and Bea
DG has officially fledged as of June 9, 2015. We have yet to see AA take flight. WC is increasingly flapping its wings and watching DG.

Only two on the nest, AA and WC, morning of June 10, 2015.

09 June 2015

After a morning meal with all three eating. (DG, AA, WC)

05 June 2015

Bea is watching over the three juveniles from an antennae attached to the tower.

Today marks the 8th week since the first chick hatched. DG, the second chick, is the most active potential fledgling - jumping up and down and actually has hovered over the nest for about five seconds today. AA isn't far behind with its attempts in hovering. WC, the youngest chick, has begun flapping its wings in its attempts to strengthen its wings. WC has been doing better the past week and has received less abuse from DG, though yesterday the little one had a set back, but seems to have overcome it. WC has grown as well, but still has far to go to reach the size of its siblings.

Check back as we may soon see two juvenile ospreys flying overhead our Hilton Head office.

04 June 2015

WC had another confrontation with DG.

Today marks the first time that WC has stretched its wings and constantly flapped them which is very encouraging. The third chick is half the size of the other two, but it is a great sign that the smallest chick might fledge. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

03 June 2015

In the past few days we are pleased to say that WC has been able to eat at a consistent basis and has been unmolested by DG. It is apparent that WC is getting more nutrition as he/she has filled out more in the last days. We anticipate WC's feathers to regrow along its back and neck, as long as DG leaves WC alone.

02 June 2015

DG, AA, & WC 

It's encouraging to see WC eating this early in the day. AA had a few bites as WC made its way over to Bea. As Jasper brought the fish in WC immediately got into a defensive position, but DG never approached WC. Maybe this is the sign we've all been waiting for where WC is concerned. If WC can eat a lot of fish in the next week or so,  maybe the little one can catch up to its siblings.

29 May 2015

WC eating again....

WC is finally getting a chance to eat. One of the other chicks came over and WC retreated. Thankfully WC was not pecked....this time.

Today marks the beginning of the seventh week since AA, the first chick, was hatched. AA and DG, the second chick, have grown quite large and in the last week have begun jumping about the nest and flapping their wings, causing them to become stronger. WC, the youngest chick, has had a tough time since hatching. With AA and DG being the dominant chicks, WC has received less fish to consume which is evident in their size comparison...(see photo below).

We hope to see DG focus less on attacking WC whenever the mood strikes so the little chick can eventually fledge.

DG, WC and AA

27 May 2015

I am shocked that WC has held on this long. DG continues to torment the smallest chick by pulling out its back feathers and continually pecking away at its back and neck. As AA eats first, DG harasses WC. I had hoped the situation would improve as the chicks aged, but now as they are older the physical damage seems to be taking its toll on WC.

22 May 2015

This morning WC was the prime beneficiary of a flounder. This is the first time that we have seen WC with a full crop as the pictures above show. The crop is a special organ that swells at the base of the esophagus that forms a storage space for food to be digested later. The crop allows the chick to swallow as much fish as possible and enable it to go longer between feedings. Crops also store indigestible fish items such as bones and scales, which will eventually form into pellets and be regurgitated.

19 May 2015

Well this is a first for us.  Jasper brought in a very tiny fish and Bea, AA and DG didn't take notice of it.  WC has taken the small fish and is attempting to eat it without Bea tearing the fish for him/her. We are pretty sure that WC is basically starving.

The chore of feeding is left to the female because a fish is normally too tough for a chick to eat a fish itself. Hopefully little WC will be successful at keeping this fish to itself and has the strength to tear it and be able to eat. 

WC was unable to eat and gave up. Bea is now feeding WC.
This Friday will mark the 6th week since the first chick hatched. The chicks seem to be doing well up to this point, but WC is half the size of the other two, AA and DG. As the temperatures begin to heat up the chicks will require more fish to keep hydrated. We're concerned for WC as he/she continues to not receive an ample supply of fish. As the photo below shows, WC is half the size of AA and DG. 

DG continues to peck away at WC causing the smallest chick to lose most of its feathers on the upper portion of its back. WC is holding on, but it remains to be seen if this chick will fledge.

14 May 2015

13 May 2015

The three chicks - DG, left, WC, middle, and AA, top. WC is holding its own, but DG continues to harass the smallest chick. WC definitely is undersized compared to the other two chicks. Jasper has been bringing a good supply of fish, but with AA and DG consuming more fish, WC doesn't always receive the quantity and quality pieces he/she needs. Hoping to see that trend change.

07 May 2015

We are mid week through the chicks 4th week and I'm beginning to believe that the smallest chick, WC, is falling behind. The past week DG has been harassing WC almost constantly. WC is nearly half the size of its older siblings and often goes without eating.

I'm hoping Jasper brings in enough fish so the other two are sated and gives WC the opportunity to eat.  

WC -top
DG - Center
AA - bottom

05 May 2015

May 9, 2015 is International Migratory Bird Day

IMBD celebrates and brings attention to one of the most important and spectacular events in the Americas - bird migration.  Bird Day is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

What is International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)?
IMBD celebrates and brings attention to one of the most important and spectacular events in the Americas - bird migration.  Bird Day is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

When is International Migratory Bird Day??
IMBD officially takes place on the second Saturday in May in the U.S. and Canada and in October in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean each year. But we recognize that this date doesn't work well for all bird events and bird festival organizers, or for the migratory birds themselves. To the south, migratory birds have left, heading for breeding sites to the north. Farther north, the birds haven't arrived.  We remedied this problem by removing the month and day from our bird education and festival materials, leaving only the year, and reminding groups "everyday is bird day." Now, IMBD is celebrated almost year-round. Most U.S. and Canada events take place in April and May, while fall events are the norm in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Why Celebrate Migratory Birds?
Public awareness and concern are crucial components of migratory bird conservation. Citizens who are enthusiastic about birds, informed about threats, and empowered to become involved in addressing those threats, can make a tremendous contribution to maintaining healthy bird populations. By modeling what can be done and involving people, their interest and involvement in stewardship can grow. One of the most successful vehicles for public education on migratory birds is International Migratory Bird Day(IMBD).  Across the Americas Bird Day events are providing great ways for people to get involved. 

04 May 2015

This week all three chicks will be 4 weeks old.

30 April 2015

Not sure if it was Bea or Jasper that brought a pine tree limb section to the nest. Just shows how strong an osprey is.

29 April 2015

28 April 2015

This week marks the seventh week since all three chicks hatched. Since then they have grown tremendously. DG is expressing more dominance over the other two chicks AA and WC. It is possible that DG is the oldest. We've always noticed the eldest of chicks being the dominant sibling where more than one exist. We couldn't get close up pictures of the first born until the second chick arrived so we may be mistaken of who actually hatched first AA or DG. 

For the books though we have AA first and DG second. The three continue to do well and they are beginning the growth of their pin feathers while maintaining their brownish fuzz.

23 April 2015

DG - top
AA - middle
WC - bottom

The chicks, AA and DG, are now moving about the nest. WC hasn't ventured too far yet from the center.

20 April 2015

Afternoon feeding. All chicks appear to be doing well.

DG - AA - WC

15 April 2015

For those viewers that keep track of our nest events, here's our lineup:

1st egg:
Date Laid:  03/02/15
Date Hatched:  04/10/15
Total Days:  39
Name:   AA

2nd egg:
Date Laid:  03/05/15
Date Hatched:  04/11/15
Total Days:  37
Name:   DG

3rd egg:
Date Laid:  03/07/15
Date Hatched:  04/13/15
Total Days:  37
Name:   WC

14 April 2015

Stomachs full of fish after their lunch meal

The new additions to Bea and Jasper's family. Believe WC is lower left, AA lower right, and DG background.

It appears the third chick has hatched, but we currently are unable to have a clear view. The third chick is named WC, which hatched Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

13 April 2015

The third chick is in the process of hatching!!!!

Update as of 2:00 p.m. April 13, 2015

The third chick has made a little progress in opening the shell. The process of chipping away at the shell can be very tiring and can take several hours.

As of Monday, April 13, we have two chicks AA and DG. We are anxiously awaiting the third chick to arrive. The first chick, AA, hatched either late evening on the 10th or early on the 11th. Following AA's lead DG hatched in the same manner, late on the 11th or early on the 12th.

There is possibly a pip in the the third egg. We'll post any information as it happens.

12 April 2015

We have our second chick named DG.

11 April 2015

We have the first chick of the 2015 season. The chick hatched either April 10th or early on the 11th. The chicks name is AA.

10 April 2015

It appears Bea and Jasper have a pip in an egg. As mentioned in a previous post "Pipping" refers to the process of the chick initially breaking through the shell, using a hard projection on its bill called the egg tooth. The resulting hole is the "pip" that the chick then enlarges to finish hatching. We might see a chick today! :)

08 April 2015

Bea has seemed a bit impatient and unable to sit still today. Maybe she senses a chick to be hatching soon.

07 April 2015

Today marks the 36th day since the first egg was laid. It could be any time now that we could see the first chick. Stay tuned....

06 April 2015

AS of 2:14 pm today the cam is back up and running on our web site: 

Until we have the image posting again on our website, here is a screen shot of Jasper and the three eggs.

31 March 2015

With the daily task of incubating the three eggs by Bea and Jasper there is little action on the nest. Our resident ospreys have about 2 - 3 weeks until we can expect the first chick to arrive. In the meantime I thought I'd report on a few nests with a few snippets from each site.

At Loch of the Lowes their resident male returned Sunday, March 23.
Since his arrival in the early hours of Sunday, our resident male osprey has been busy organising his nest for the coming season. He immediately got to work, displaying some interesting cleaning techniques by using his body and splayed wings to flatten the growing grass tufts in the centre! It is possible for a female to reject a nest if it is deemed untidy enough upon her arrival, so this is a very important behaviour to witness.
On Sunday afternoon, the male treated spectators to a wonderful sight of himself returning from a successful fishing trip with a large pike grasped firmly in his talons. After returning safely from his arduous migration it’s a relief to see him demonstrating his great condition and hunting capabilities.
All of the staff and volunteers are holding their breath and watching the skies waiting for the first glimpse of another osprey arriving at Loch of the Lowes. So far, there has been very little in the way of other osprey visitors, although the reported bad weather in Europe appears to be delaying many ospreys on their migration back to the UK. Whilst patiently waiting for a mate, our male has been working very hard on the nest over the weekend – adding large sticks to the edges and improving the nest cup lining with extra clumps of soft moss. Last year our veteran resident female “Lady” returned on the 31st March at 6.49am, so will tomorrow be the day? Only time will tell…

Over at Black Water Refuge they have a pair that recently arrived.
An osprey on the nest that looks like a female. Once the pair has arrived and are fully rested, we'll expect them to begin replacing the sticks in the box that either blew out or were removed by other birds, like our eagles.

At the Rutland Osprey site they had three ospreys in their bay.
The excitement began at about 10:00… I was in the wonderful Waderscrape hide, opening up for the day, when a high-pitched call broke the silence of the empty Bay. It was 28(10) flying in, carrying a fish and being chased by gulls!

At the Chesapeake Conservancy  their pair has returned.Good morning from the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland and welcome to Season Three of Tom and Audrey!  The Chesapeake's favorite osprey couple, Tom and Audrey, have returned from their long winter in South America and have arrived at the new platform! All over the country, and here in Maryland, winter just wouldn’t give up this season.  In the words of Yogi Berra, it was déjà vu all over again with our pole and platform.  Unlike last winter when the pole was merely bent to the point we needed to replace it, this year the entire pole and platform succumbed to the ice and wind.  After bending precariously, then being spun around in all different directions by the elements, our brand new pole and platform that were just installed last season were reduced to kindling and scrap metal.

24 March 2015

We're now 22 days out from the first egg being laid. Just the daily exchange of duties at the nest. The other osprey that had been pestering Bea and Jasper hasn't been seen in a while, so maybe it has found its own site.

17 March 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone! 

Not much action on the nest. Today marks the 15th day since the first egg was laid. The pair continue trading places incubating the three eggs. This past week has been gorgeous in our area with sunny days and temperatures in the 70s - 80s. Wednesday we should see a change with lower temperatures and several days of rain.

12 March 2015

The last and third egg was laid either March 7th or 8th. Every season since Bea and Jasper have occupied the platform the pair has had three eggs per clutch. 

Jasper continues to improve the nest with both sharing incubating duties. With an incubation time frame of 5 to 6 weeks we are looking around the week of April 6 for the first chick to appear. The third chick will be at a distinct disadvantage if it hatches 6 days or so after the first chick.

Because incubation starts when the first egg is laid, the eggs hatch asynchronously in the order in which they were laid. Chicks that hatch first are larger and have a competitive advantage over those that are hatch later. If food becomes scarce, the smaller chicks are less successful in competing for food, and often die. This decrease in the number of chicks in the nest makes food more available to the surviving chicks, and increases their likelihood of survival. This process, common in raptors, is called brood reduction.

09 March 2015

Bea and Jasper now have three eggs. The third egg was laid Saturday or Sunday. Since we installed the camera we have always had a clutch of three eggs.

05 March 2015

The host provider now has the osprey cam on our site. Thanks for your patience!!
 Bea laid her second egg at 9:53 this morning.  :)