In June of 2000 Mark Martell and I trapped a pair of Ospreys on the Vineyard's south shore and outfitted them with satellite transmitters. The birds were known as HX (the male) and HW (his mate) as these were the letters on their color bands.
    The nest failed shortly after we tagged the birds, and we then had our first surprise in this study. HW left the Vineyard and spent the next couple of months wandering around southern New England prior to migrating south in September. She died somewhere in Panama. Scroll down to see her maps.
    HX stayed on the Vineyard until August, when he also headed to New York. He spent a month and a half moving around Long Island and the lower Hudson River. In fact, one day he was within a mile of his mate, HW. He spent about three weeks prior to migrating on Shelter Island on the eastern tip of Long Island. The map of his route can be found below: HX Migration.

HW Pre-migration

    This bird was the first to show us how much Ospreys can wander before they begin their migration. Shortly after her nest failed, HW flew up to central Mass, spent a couple of weeks there and then moved down to the NYC area, where she spent two months before migrating.

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    HW Migrates - 

When she finally decided to head south in September, she took a rather inland route (and probably passed within 5 miles of my home in Charlotte!). She rested and fueled up in Lake Lenear in NE Georgai before moving on to Florida and Cuba. Here she surprised us for the second time. Instead of following Cuba southeast, as had every other Osprey tagged in this study, she turned west and flew to Central America. She passed down the west coast of the isthmus and only made it to Panama. We lost her signal there and don't know what happened to her.

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HX Migration

HX also did some wandering before migrating, although not for as long or as far as his mate, HX. He left the Vineyard in August and spent most of his time around NYC before settling down on Shelter Island for a couple of weeks before heading south. He took the coastal route, cutting the corner from NC to FL and was in Cuba 10 days after he left Long Island. From there, he took the route more commonly traveled by East Coast Ospreys, flying the length of Cuba, hopping over to Hispaniola and then crossing the Caribbean to Venezuela. He rested a week or so after arriving in South America and then took off on a bee line to the delta of the Orinoco River in northern Venezuela. It was obvious that he was returning to his favorite wintering grounds, where he spent the next six months.

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