Monday, May 24, 2010

Now We Have A Great New View!

Hope you're all enjoying the newly-shifted camera angle - we made our move when the opportunity arose and got it done quickly!

Jazzel wanted to add a few thoughts about the state of the nest, and whether these birds are new or past residents! Here are her thoughts:

I'm very sure, now, after comparing countless pics of head markings, that these are the original resident WHOI Cam Ospreys. It's very difficult to compare pics from the old cam and new cam.

The intruder issues on the WHOI nest, this season, have been well documented by many cam viewers…both in commentary and pics.

Below is Dr. Rob Bierregaard's answer to questions I had about the intruder issues in Hilton Head, SC, Cape Coral, FL, this season and Conanicut, RI and Cape Henlopen, DE, last season. I posted this on the Hilton Head blog.

"I don't know exactly how long they have to get going. We've had young fledge in mid-late August on the Vineyard, so that pair probably didn't lay until late May. It may have been a renesting after a lost clutch, or it could have been one of these turn-over in the breeding pair situations, which very often result in no nesting for that year. I suspect that most of the intruder situations occur when one of the adults doesn't return and the fight to fill the vacancy is really protracted because none of the contestants has the psychological advantage of having been there the previous year. "Home-court advantage" is really a big deal in birds.

Eggs are produced about 2-3 days apart (more if the female is not in really good condition). I suspect that they could recycle only if it's really early in the nesting season. Whether they recycle or not would depend on physiological condition, and what the levels of estrogen were in the female's blood."

Looking back at nest caps, I don't believe there was a third egg….but I have more screen recordings to check.

The male is doing the incubating. But part time incubating will not result in a hatch.

The intruders are not an issue now...but they were at the start of the season, resulting in a very late start for the resident pair. It makes perfect sense that the male would incubate and fish...he would be doing this, at this stage in a normal season. It also makes sense that the female is not incubating, consider what Dr. Bierregaard said about the females estrogen blood level...

As I said, I believe this is the resident pair from past seasons. Someone commented this may be a young female accustomed to fish deliveries to the nest just waiting to be served, and to inexperienced to understand incubation.

A "young inexperienced" female would be three or four years old, and fishing for herself since her first migration, she would also be fishing for herself until her eggs hatched, while the male took over incubation duty. I think she's simply guarding her nest.

There are many ospreys in the area...including the new nesting pair on a building 500 yards from the cam nest, and more young ones arriving...a distraction, but not a intruder take over issue.

The WHOI pair are guarding the nest...insuring their claim for next season....note Dr. Bierregaard's comment on "Home-court advantage"

Hope this helps. This is a great learning experience..take notes : - )

Please comment on your observations.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Three issues have contributed to the cam nest not producing eggs, so far, this season.

The first and most important is the resident male did not survive migration. If the male had returned the hawks wouldn't have been a problem. He would have started repairing the nest and defending his territory.

When the female returned she had to choose a new mate, which she has. The new mate now has to establish his territory rights. This is a second issue because another young male is building a nest on a roof top 500 yards from the cam nest. This young male has also been trying to attract a female and establish his territory.

This courtship display is great to watch, but very distracting for nesting pairs. The male flies over his nesting ground with a fish, very high up, circling , hovering and calling, then drops down in a steep dive then returns to his previous hight, then repeats. The display attracts unattached ospreys, both male and female to the area. Hopefully he will find a mate this season, but he may not until next season.

Last season I watched a young male starting a nest in cell tower. Actually, he built three nests, he had that tower covered!! He also had to fight off other males that wanted the site. He did win the tower, but didn't have a mate by the end of the season. This season he returned, now has a mate, they are incubating.

I haven't observed the hawks showing any aggressive behavior toward the ospreys for well over a week. This may be because their nest failed, or they're just to busy hunting and feeding chicks. They are of course still there, just not a problem now.

From my on site observations, yesterday afternoon, the bachelor osprey seems to have a female prospect. She was on his nest several times, hopefully she'll stay and keep him busy!! The territory issues will continue, but should become less intense if he has a mate.

The cam nest pair spent most of the afternoon on the nest, nest perch ( she seems to like it ) and perched in nearby trees. The male brought in some nesting material, and they even did some bonding. There were a couple of territory incidents, but basically a quiet day.

Today started out very well…the male bringing in a lot of nesting material. Now, as I'm writing this, there's an obvious battle in progress….stay tuned…


Monday, May 3, 2010

Hanging Out at the Nest

Well, it looks like we may have some activity at the nest for the season. There have been several sightings of a pair on the platform recently and in fact, one is sitting on the perch of the nest as I write!

At this point, it seems as if the birds in the area (there are others attempting nests on another building here at WHOI!) are preparing for next season. It makes us sad to know that we probably won't be seeing youngsters this year but are hoping for the best, no matter what!

Many of you have sent in pictures of the birds and we appreciate it. We'll be posting some examples on here soon.