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This is a live view from the osprey nest about 75 yards outside The Wetlands Institute. Our new high definition camera not only has night vision, it also has sound.  To adjust or mute the sound, hover over the image with your cursor and click the speaker icon.

If the camera feed stops, try refreshing your internet browser.  Storms may cause power outages which will interrupt the feed. The close-up nest camera is prone to outages when demand is high. Unfortunately, we have been unable to resolve that issue so far. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Note: If the camera feed appears jumpy on your browser, switch to fullscreen by clicking the fullscreen icon in the lower right corner of the camera window and it should stabilize.

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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Osprey

When do the Osprey come back? 
Typically, the Osprey return during mid to late March. The older males arrive first, with females and younger males arriving a couple of weeks later. 

Do the same birds come back to the nest every year? 
Most of the time! Osprey have high “nest fidelity”, which means they return to the same nest year after year. When young Osprey return to breed for the first time, they will come back to the area they fledged from. 

Do they mate for life?
Usually. However, research has shown that Osprey are only loyal to their nest, not their mate! 

Why is there a platform for them?
Osprey naturally nest in large trees on the edge of the salt marsh. Here at the Jersey Shore, most of that habitat has been developed, so these platforms provide valuable nesting sites. 

Why is there human trash in the nest?
Osprey are master decorators, and will constantly add new sticks and other nesting materials to the nest! They will bring whatever they can find in the marsh, which unfortunately often means bringing human trash like plastic bags and beachballs into the nest. Things like monofilament line and balloon strings can get tangled in an Osprey’s legs with disastrous results. 

When do they lay eggs?
Eggs are usually laid a couple of weeks after the female’s arrival, in mid-April. 

When do they hatch?
Eggs take about 38-42 days to hatch. Typically, this means eggs will hatch in late May or early June. 

Do they have any predators?
Adult Osprey are apex predators, and not much will mess with them. However, sometimes an adult Bald Eagle will chase down an Osprey in order to steal its food! Osprey chicks are vulnerable to gulls, owls, and racoons until they learn to fly, so you’ll usually see one of the parents hanging around nearby. 

What do they eat?
Fish! An Osprey’s diet is almost entirely fish, earning them their nickname of “fish hawk”. 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 eggs will they lay?
Osprey will lay anywhere from 1-4 eggs. The exact number depends on the age of the adults and the environment. Young Osprey might only lay 1-2 eggs, whereas more experienced Osprey will lay 3 or even 4 eggs. Sometimes young Osprey pairs might not even lay eggs at all their first year!  

When will the young Osprey learn to fly?
Osprey chicks grow up fast. It only takes about eight weeks for Osprey to reach their full size and fledge the nest! 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. 

Where do they go in the winter?
Starting in late August, Osprey head for warmer areas, from Florida and the Gulf Coast to South America. Males and females migrate separately, and spend the winter apart. Juvenile Osprey will spend an entire year in their wintering habitat before returning north to breed for the first time.

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2 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook


What happened? she was so diligent sitting on those eggs in the wet weather and high winds. I have been out of the country and misses 2 weeks of the story. I expected to come home and watch the eggs hatch!!!

Marshall and Lily are back and it looks like love is in the air! 🙏🤞🤞🤞🙏 ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago
Marshall and Lily are back and it looks like love is in the air!  🙏🤞🤞🤞🙏Image attachment

Comment on Facebook


For real??? I thought we lost Marshall, unless this is an imposter!😊

At it again this morning!!! 👍🏻🙏🏻

I checked about 20 minutes ago and they were mating. Not that I'm a peeping Tom but I clicked on the video and there they were. 😳 Jokes aside, this makes me hopeful.

How long after they mate does she lay eggs? We have that storm coming tonight and I don’t want her to have to sit on that nest. She and the eggs will blow away. 70 mph winds.

Per the Avian Report: Osprey pairs mate quite often. Copulating begins while they construct their nests or rebuild them if they happen to return to the same nest from last year. Observations show that pairs copulate between 88 and 338 times before laying eggs. The majority of copulations occur in the morning on the nest or nearby. In the days leading up to the female laying eggs, copulations become even more frequent. Although the number of copulations may seem high, not all copulations result in cloacal contact, meaning the male often mounts the female for fake copulations. Field observations found that only 39% of mountings resulted in actual cloacal contact. During the days leading up to egg-laying, the female may be most receptive to mating and egg fertilization may occur. On these days, the male stays very close to the female to ensure that he is the only one mating with her and ensuring paternity.

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1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

So glad you posted this. I didn't see any eggs yesterday so she must have just laid it.


Where are you

Norma Nelson Nancy Utley Say yas if You want one order From Here 👇👇

If you expand these pictures you’ll be able to see that the remaining two eggs have been damaged with sections of shell missing. In the top picture a dejected Lily surveys the carnage. 😢 ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago
If you expand these pictures you’ll be able to see that the remaining two eggs have been damaged with sections of shell missing. In the top picture a dejected Lily surveys the carnage. 😢Image attachmentImage attachment

No chicks this year. 😢 Mother Nature can be harsh. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago
No chicks this year. 😢 Mother Nature can be harsh.

Comment on Facebook

Driven from nest by high winds?

Have they abandoned the nest?

We could always count on them for a happy season. So sorry.

I think the female left the nest due to hunger. People noted that the male had not been seen in a couple days.

Back on the eggs, but I’m not sure they are still viable. I read the eggs can go up to 2 weeks but that’s prior to starting incubation. Once incubation starts they must be kept warm. I’m no expert though. Been watching them for the last couple years. You just assume everything will work out but like life that’s not always the case. Still 🙏🏻 her mate returns and all will be ok.

3:10 pm Thursday. Male is BACK and Lily is giving him a piece of her mind! ("talking" to him) He's looking all around and down and ignoring her.

Heartbreaking. 😔

Is this the NJ Wetlands nest?

Don’t know what happened. Eggs gone. Possibly broken. Hard to see.

That’s a-shame ,better luck next year.

POssibly predated. Maybe buried. Sometimes ospreys hide their eggs under vegetation when alone.

We have seen the same thing at our BL Osprey Cam, so cams like this are so important to get a bigger picture of what is going on. It seems that the persistent NE winds and associated swell, turbidity, etc has affected osprey foraging in the ocean and incubating adults are being forced to abandon eggs to try and find food to sustain themselves. It seems that it will be a bad year. The first since 2003.

In North Idaho we have not had a normal arrival of our Pete and Sandy and tons of drama. No great nest and no eggs either.🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️


Sunday 9:55 a.m. The male is back and it sounds like he's calling for her. Maybe they'll stay the summer?

They are both back!


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