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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Many of you have reached out wondering about the injured Osprey our Research and Conservation staff rescued a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, we have sad news to share. Despite the heroic and extensive efforts of everyone involved - from the network of TWI staff and partners involved in the rescue to the outstanding staff at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research - this young Osprey's injuries were too extensive, and it did not survive. Along with the wounds it received from the discarded fishing gear, it also had a fractured wing that may have resulted from an attempt to free itself from the hook and line. It was a tragedy to lose this young Osprey, particularly from such a preventable cause, and especially this year when so many Osprey chicks in the area were lost likely due to lack of available prey. We'd hoped for a happy outcome, but for this bird it was not to be.
#wetlandsinstitute #stoneharbornj #middletownshipnj #osprey #marinedebris
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3 months ago

5 CommentsComment on Facebook

Thank you for caring for it.

Thank you for all you do ❤️

Heartbreaking to hear. We lost at least one as well to fishing lines. Westport MA

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How do the young ospreys learn how to fish? Is it just instinct or so they learn by watching? ... See MoreSee Less

4 months ago

6 CommentsComment on Facebook

I learned from one of those anti seagull hawk guys that the adult takes the the juveniles out and dive on smaller fish, injuring the fish and dropping it back in the water giving the young ones an easy target. I actually witnessed this action while taking an early morning walk on the beach. Practice makes perfect!

Yeah, they definitely don’t just follow adults to foraging areas. They learn by trial and error. We watched the osprey fledgling at our osprey cam in BL return last summer with several small catches that were its first - a banded killifish, blue crab and then a pufferfish.

We watched a juvenile practice diving several times in Cape May Harbor on Sunday. It hit the water with talons outstretched, then got itself out of the water and airborne, shook the excess water off, rounded, and tried again.

Thanks for answering my question. On the beach today, I believe I saw several juveniles practicing fishing. It was amazing because I never noticed it before. I saw them do the little flappy dance they do just before they’re ready to dive, but did not dive. Then when they did dive I saw one head right down to the water, but never made contact and swooshed right up again. When he was ready, he finally took his dive and came up with a fish on his first try!!! 🐟🐠🐡

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On the 200 block of 26th last night. Never saw an Osprey on a pole 8n town before. ... See MoreSee Less

4 months ago

4 CommentsComment on Facebook

Looks like he’s eating before going back to Mrs

Are ospreys getting ready to fly off our Pole

Deale Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay

Usually they depart in early September- female first.

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4 months ago

Thank you so much for accepting me into your group! ... See MoreSee Less

4 months ago
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My Summer as an Osprey Chick Lapbook

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All Osprey all the time!
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