Home Page - Osprey Main Page - Migration Page - Migration 2013 - Birds of Prey

Migration 2012

 Migration Weather Conditions for 23 Oct

North Fork 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 and links:
Really amazing videos of Ospreys hunting.

Why Ospreys hate Great-horned Owls.   


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 - Where's Waldo?

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, has 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 Migration/Summer 2012

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 down there.

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"

Use these links 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 15 Nov).  (Note-if you go to a bio for one of the birds tagged before 2012, you'll have to navigate back to this page).

Belle '10 Juvenile - Martha's Vineyard/MA Bio - Map - Returned to Martha's Vineyard after 18 months in Brazil. Now almost back on her wintering area in Brazil. Updated 13 Nov.
Thatch '10 Juvenile - Cape Henlopen/DE Bio - Map - 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. Updated 13 Nov.
Snowy '11 Young male tagged post fledging on the Chappaquiddick shores of Katama Bay. Bio - Map - 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.
Sr. Bones '10 Adult male - Nantucket/MA Bio - Map - 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.
North Fork Bob '10 Adult male - Mattituck, Long Island/NY. Bio - Map - 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 tagged him. Updated 8 Dec.
Bridgewater Art '12 Adult male - Pemigewasset River in Bridgewater, NH. Bio - Map - Art is a male that we were unable to trap last spring. This year our new and improved nest trap was just what the doctor ordered. He's in eastern Brazil, perhaps settled for the winter Updated 11 Nov.
Bridger '12 Adult male - East Branch, Westport River Bio - Map - 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.
Rammie '12 Adult male - East Branch, Westport River Bio - Map - 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!
Cutch '12 Adult male - Mattituck, Long Island Bio - Map - 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.
Jill '12 Young - Tilton, NH Bio - Map - 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.
Chip '12 Young - Tilton, NH Bio - Map - 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 Osprey research
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 and censuses.
     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! Link 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.

Old Birds

     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 Vineyard and 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 healthy female.
Bridger 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."
Rammie 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.
Cutch, 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 grounds.
Jill is 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.
Chip is 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!.

Birds of Prey page -- Osprey main page -- Migration page -- Home Page


Locations of visitors to this page

Hit Counter