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Birds of Prey
Migration Weather Conditions for 23 Oct
Bob is the last of our surviving birds to cross the Caribbean. Fortunately, Bob
was on land as Hurricane Sandy roared across the Caribbean. He spent more time
in the D.R. than we like, given the Dominicans' propensity for shooting Ospreys,
but he made the leap on Nov. 9 and is now in Venezuela. He made it back to his
wintering waters on 28 Nov.
Jump to links to maps, updates on old
birds, and bios for this year's class.
Join the new Osprey Migration Google Group forum.
(You'll get the updates and have a chance to comment on what the birds are
doing. The more people who switch over to this option, the less work for me!)
Subscribe to the email "New Maps Alert" list.
Visit the Westport
River Osprey website.
2012 Osprey cams
Really amazing videos of
Why Ospreys hate
The Prodigal Young Return!
Our two youngsters tagged in 2010 have both been photographed back near their
natal territories after their safe returns from the juvenile Osprey 18 month
"gap year" down in South America. Mark Alan Lovewell took the picture of Belle (on the right) as she flew over Deep Bottom
Cove in Tisbury Great Pond on Martha's Vineyard. Georgia and Barrie Ashby caught
a shot of Thatch flying around the Cape May Lighthouse in southernmost New
Jersey, where he was spotted several times by the hawk counters at the Cape May
Hawk Watch platform.
Dec. 8, 2012 -
Another fall migration
season is over. Although the hurricane season
was particularly benign (no birds lost crossing
the Caribbean), we still lost more than our
share of birds (4). One bird (Chip) was lost at
sea, one (Cutch) died in a bizarre accident, and
2 birds stopped moving for reasons unknowable.
Our 2 veterans (Sr. Bones and North Fork Bob) both
returned to their winter homes for the 3rd
time--a record for our telemetered birds). Belle
is back on the Rio Madeira--only our 4th
juvenile to make it back to its wintering area
for a second time.
Bridger, one of the two adult males from the Westport
River outfitted with cell-tower GSM
transmitters, rather miraculously found a cell
tower in remote southeastern Colombia and sent
us data from most of his travel to that point.
And then, to top that rather unbelievably lucky
event, he found another in northeastern Bolivia.
We haven't heard from his neighbor, Rammie,
since late September, but we think this is more
the result of his not being near a cell tower,
rather than something happening to him. We'll
find out next spring when he and Bridger should
be returning to their nests in southeastern MA.
At that time, we'll attempt to retrap them and
remove the transmitters.
Our newly tagged adult male from New Hampshire, Bridgewater Art,
settled down on the Araguaia River in
northeastern Brazil (which is south of the
Amazon). This is the farthest any of our birds
have gone in that direction.
Spring 2012 (at left): Our two adults (North Fork Bob and Sr. Bones)
both made safe and uneventful return trips to
their breeding areas. Both were on their second
north-bound migrations with our transmitters, and
both left their wintering waters about the same
time they did in the spring of 2011.
Our two "teenagers"--born and tagged in 2010--started
their first trips north 3-4 weeks after the
adults, which is typical. Thatch (from Cape Henlopen, DE)
spent a month west of Brunswick, GA, on the
Turtle River, before returning home. He's now
over in Cape May, NJ, just a few miles across
the mouth of Delaware.
Belle (from Martha's
Vineyard) stopped moving on 30 April. All her
fixes for 26 hours were from exactly the same
location, a few miles east of Port au Prince in
Haiti. We were convinced that she was dead, and
I'm now very happy to report that she did some
sort of Haitian Voodoo thing and has risen from
the dead! (Anyone who thinks this migration study business
isn't an emotional roller-coaster hasn't been
paying attention.) She made it back to Martha's
Vineyard on May 19th and has pretty much settled
Summer: In June we tagged 3 new
adult males--one in New Hampshire (Art) and 2 on
the Westport River (Bridger and Rammie). The
Westport birds' transmitters are new technology.
Rather than transfer data to us via satellite,
they use cell towers. As a result, we get a lot
more data--GPS fixes every 15 minutes rather
than every hour.
On a second trip north, we tagged 3 more
birds--another non-breeding adult male on Long
Island and 2 young up in New Hampshire. The Long
Island male, Cutch, is proving to be very
interesting! Check out his maps.
"The Company Directory"
to go straight to a bird's maps or bios. Names in hot pink are
newly updated (data through 1 Dec (most of the other birds were updated around
(Note-if you go to a bio for one of the birds tagged
before 2012, you'll have to navigate back to this page).
'10 Juvenile - Martha's Vineyard/MA
Returned to Martha's
Vineyard after 18 months in Brazil. Now almost
back on her wintering area in Brazil.
'10 Juvenile - Cape Henlopen/DE
After 15 months up and
down a 300-mile stretch of the Amazon, Thatch
got back home to Delaware and was heading back
to South America when he rather mysteriously
died on the island of Curacao.
Young male tagged post fledging on the
Chappaquiddick shores of Katama Bay.
One of two healthy young
at a nest that has not been very productive over
the years. He's down in Venezuela, settled down
for his 18 month "gap year" in South America:
Updated 4 Sept.
Adult male - Nantucket/MA
Nest failed in 2010. In
2011 he fledged a youngster for the first time.
He raised two young this year and is back in his
mountain lair in Colombia.
Updated 15 Oct.
Adult male - Mattituck, Long Island/NY.
He returned to Long
Island. Looked like he was setting up shop at a
nest pole, but seems to have been run out of
town by the local sheriff.
He's back in S.A. for the third time since we
Updated 8 Dec.
Adult male - Pemigewasset River in Bridgewater,
Art is a male that we
were unable to trap last spring. This year our
new and improved nest trap was just what the
He's in eastern Brazil, perhaps settled for the
Adult male - East Branch, Westport River
Bridger fledged three
young and rather miraculously found a cell tower
in southeastern Colombia. He then went for the
weekly double and found another cell tower down
in Boliva. I keep saying that we won't hear from
him again until spring, but I keep being wrong.
Updated 11 Nov.
Adult male - East Branch, Westport River
Rammie fledged only 1
young this year.
Updated 26 Sept.
(Rammie's maps for the summer are on Bridger's page.)
Rammie's out of cell-tower range and most
certainly won't be heard from again until
spring. Unless he is!
Adult male - Mattituck, Long Island
A non-breeding adult (or
sub-adult) male trapped trying to pilfer the
fish we had out for bait in the Downs Creek
Osprey nest. He died in
Colombia in late Sept.
Updated 12 Oct.
Young - Tilton, NH
Jill is a healthy female
fledgling--one of 3 hatched out of a nest in
Tilton, NH, near the Winnipesaukee River.
She died moving south through Brazil
Updated 12 Oct.
Young - Tilton, NH
Jill's little brother
is migrating already! 2nd earliest start we've
documented. He got blown out to sea and road
ships for 7 days getting more than half way across the Atlantic
before dying at sea.
Updated 26 Oct.
Overview of our
This is the 13th year of our satellite
tracking and the 15th year that we have been
following the Osprey population on Martha's
Vineyard. The "we" here includes lots of friends
and colleagues, but most importantly Dick
Jennings. Dick "retired" to Martha's Vineyard
where he is probably busier now than he was when
he was earning a paycheck. He is a naturalist
for the Trustees of Reservations and my
right-hand man in all Vineyard Osprey trapping
At the end of the 2012 trapping season we had trapped
72 Ospreys and satellite tagged 49 of that total
(35 young and 14 adults). Over the 15 years of
our censuses, we've counted over 900 nesting attempts
and watched more than 1,000 young fledge!
to details of our census work
Tagging new birds in 2012
Adults- We trapped and tagged
an adult male on the Pemigewasset River in
Bridgewater, NH, on 29 May. We tagged two more
males on the Westport River in southeastern
Massachusetts on June 6th. The Westport birds
were outfitted with transmitters that send us
information via cell towers, rather than via
satellite! We planned to tag one
more adult male in New Hampshire later in June.
But the best laid plans.... We wound up tagging
a non-breeding adult on Long Island at the same
nest where we tagged North Fork Bob, under
exactly the same circumstances.
Juveniles- I keep trying to
wrap up the studies of juvenile migration, but
somehow can't quite kick the habit. We planned to
tag 5 young (New Hampshire and Long Island) in July and
August, but were only able to catch 2.
As 2012 began, we were down to only
five surviving birds wintering down in South America--Sr. Bones and North Fork Bob (adult males), Belle and Thatch
(juveniles from 2010),
and Snowy (a juvenile from 2011). Sanford, an
adult from the Westport River dropped out of the sky near Orlando on his way
south in the fall. Weird as it sounds, it may have been a heart attack.
Buck (an almost 2-yr old from South Carolina)
either died or his transmitter stopped working on 27 Nov.
Midway through 2012, Sr. Bones is raising young
on Nantucket. North Fork Bob apparently tried to set up at a
nest pole on Long Island, but was run out of town by another male and is now
cruising around eastern Long Island. Belle is home on Martha's
Thatch is back in the States, spending most of his time around
Cape May, just across the mouth of Delaware Bay from his natal territory in Cape
Henlopen, DE. Snowy
is still on his gap-year down in Venezuela.
Who's Who - Bios of the Class
of '12 (newly tagged birds)
||"Bridgewater Art" Art
is an adult male trapped
at a nest on the Pemigewasset River on May 29th. We tried to trap him last year,
but he didn't like the trap we were using. This year, armed with a new and
improved nest trap, we caught him in short order. His three eggs began hatching
on June 2nd. His brood was reduced to 1 young,
which has recently fledged--it's a great big
was trapped and tagged on the East
Branch of the Westport River on June 6th. His
mate is the most ferocious Osprey I've ever met.
She, along with other birds in the colony, can
spot the research crew's boat from a hundred
yards or more and comes barreling off her nest
as a one-bird unwelcoming party.
There were 3 recently hatched young (between a couple
of days and a week old) when we trapped Bridger.
We caught his mate before we trapped Bridger.
She was banded as a nestling on the Westport
back in 1997, so she had probably just
celebrated her 15th "hatchday."
nests a few hundred yards from Bridger near Big
Ram Island (hence the name). He was caught a
couple of hours after we tagged Bridger on June
6th. We had trapped his mate a week before in a
test run of our new nest trap.
His nest has not been among the most productive in the
Westport River colony. He lost 2 young and was
doing fine with the surviving chick. Then he got
an unexpected addition to his nest. Mass Audubon
interns working with the Westport River colony
had an orphaned young to take care of, so they
popped it into Rammie's nest. I'm fairly sure
that both young successfully fledged.
named for Cutchogue, Long Island, was trapped at
our favorite Long Island nest, which is in a
marsh along Downs Creek, beside the North Fork
Golf Club. We were trying to catch one of the 3
young fledged out of the nest this year. After
about 4 hours of waiting, one of the young
landed on the nest with our noose carpet trap.
Just then an adult male landed next to the
juvenile. The juvenile took off, not having
spent enough time of the carpet to get noosed,
but the male was trapped. As I suspected, when
we looked at the data that came in later, this
male was not the adult from this nest, but
rather an unmated male who just happened to be
flying over the nest and saw the fish under the
noose carpet. Pursuing a "waste-not-want-not"
philosophy, Cutch dropped in to snatch one of
the unguarded fish. I suspect that he may be a
2-yr old on his first return to the breeding
a young female--one of 3 healthy young fledged
from a nest at the J.Jill distribution facility
in Tilton, NH, close to the Winnipesaukee River.
She was trapped at 11:00 AM on 2 August.
a young male--Jill's sister. We caught him after
a long wait just after 4PM. Fortunately, we had
the NYTimes crossword to work on to pass the
time. Appropriately enough the theme was birds!.
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