This is a live view from the osprey nest about 75 yards outside the Wetlands Institute. That’s Stone Harbor Boulevard in the background. The camera even has night vision, so check back anytime for a look at what they’re doing.
2013 OSPREY LOG
3/19/13 We observed an osprey flying over the salt marsh! We realize that it may not be a permanent resident and just passing through. However, our fingers are crossed that the osprey return again this year to nest at the nearest platform! Should the osprey return to this platform, we will re-activate the osprey camera as soon as possible.
2012 OSPREY LOG
The osprey returned to the Wetlands Institute to nest this year! However, they did not nest on the nearest platform with the camera. They chose instead to nest on a platform on the other side of the salt marsh.
2011 OSPREY LOG
Farewell to Hali, Luke and Giblet. The Wetlands Institute’s resident ospreys have flown away for the season.
We look forward to March/April of 2012 for their return!
9/18/11 An empty nest.
9/8/11 Only chick (soon to be fledgling) seen – both parents have left the nest.
8/1/11 Chick takes flight!
7/19/11 Chick seen hopping up and down with wings flapping.
7/4/11 Chick growing larger. Being left alone in the nest as parents go out for food and nest material. Numerous family feedings spotted through June and July.
6/8/11 Both birds seen on nest helping with feeding chick.
6/7/11 Second egg still not hatched. Mother feeding one chick.
6/5/11 First egg hatched!
4/28/11 Second egg!
4/26/11 First egg!
4/10/11 One bird is eating a fish while the other rearranges grass on the nest.
4/6/11 Two osprey observed on and around the nest for most of the day.
3/31/11 One osprey seen on the platform. It may just be passing through, and not a permanent resident.
Do the same birds come back to the nest every year? Osprey return to the same general area annually, but not necessarily the same nest. We think that the female is the same bird we’ve seen here since 2008; she has a rusty patch on the back of her head, and a band on her right leg. But since we can’t see the number on the band, we can’t be 100% certain that she’s the same osprey.
When do they come back? Usually during the first week of April. In 2010, this nest was occupied on April 2.
When do they lay eggs? Eggs are usually laid within three or four weeks of their arrival. In 2010, the first egg was laid on April 20. Two more eggs followed within a few days.
When do they hatch? Eggs take about 38-42 days to hatch. In 2010, the first egg hatched on May 29, the third egg on June 5.
Do they have any predators? Adult osprey are apex predators, and not much will mess with them. Osprey chicks are vulnerable to gulls and owls, until they learn to fly, so you’ll usually see one of the parents hanging around nearby.
What do they eat? Think you’re good at catching fish with a pole? Try doing it with your feet! Osprey fly overhead and look for fish, then dive in feet-first. Once they’ve caught the fish, they’ll rotate it in their talons so that it’s headfirst, which is more aerodynamic in flight.
How many babies do they have? This answer depends a lot on the environment. If the weather is good, the water is clear, and the fish plentiful, they may lay three or four eggs. If it’s rainy and food is scarce, there might be just one or two. The first chick to hatch has the best chance of surviving, since it will be the biggest and get the most food. It’s not unusual for one chick to kill another. Most years this nest has only produced one or two surviving chicks, but in 2010 there were three survivors.
When will they learn to fly? Osprey chicks grow up fast. Their feathers will come in during June and July, and by late July they’ll be flapping their wings in preparation for flight. Once they can fly, they’ll learn to fish. By mid-August, they’ll usually have started to migrate south.
Where do they go? Osprey head for warmer areas, from Florida and the Gulf to South America. Males and females usually migrate separately, and spend the winter apart.
Do they mate for life? Usually. But females have been known to “trade up” for a male that can catch more fish or has a better nest.