2001 was a very busy year for our migration tracking. HX returned to Martha's Vineyard from Venezuela in April, and we tagged four new birds--three on Martha's Vineyard and one in Charlotte, NC.

Click on the links to find the maps for each bird listed below, or scroll through them all:

HX - Spring Migration
HX - Fall Migration
KD - (HX's replacement mate) Pre-migration wandering
KD - Fall Migration
KB - Felix Neck female KB - Felix Neck female Pre-migration
KB - Fall Migration

KC - Felix Neck male
"Ms. Charlotte" - Charlotte female

HX Migration

HX left his Orinoco Delta home away from home on 23 March 2001. This was about 8 days after the first birds showed up on the Vineyard.

Males return a week or so before their mates to reclaim their territories or, in the case of young birds, to find their first territory. There's a premium on getting back early--first chance to take over an abandoned territory, if you're a young bird. HX may have been pretty old when we tagged him. His nest had been occupied for many years prior to his getting his transmitter. Maybe this is why he left Venezuela so late. 

The trip home took only 3 weeks--a week less than the southward migration in the fall of 2000. This is understandable, as there's no need to get to the wintering grounds in a hurry, but delay in returning to the breeding grounds may result in the loss of a bird's territory, as we saw in 2003--Browse on!

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    HX returned to his breeding area in April, where he attracted a new mate. We trapped and tagged this new bird, KD, in mid June. As it turned out, the nest had already failed when we trapped KD. HX was already in Connecticut on the 16th of June when we trapped KD. Shortly after she was tagged, she began to wander around SE New England, making two trips back to Martha's Vineyard before heading south on 16 August.

HX Fall Migration

HX wandered around Long Island Sound from mid June through September. Once again, he fueled up for migration on Shelter Island and started his migration on 13 Sept.

This year, as last, he took the shortcut across a bit of the Atlantic between Bald Head Island, NC, and northern Florida. From there, he took the usual Osprey "highway to the tropics" through Cuba and Hispaniola to Venezuela. 

He made the trip in only three weeks (a week faster than last year) and arrived in exactly the same area where he spent the previous winter (and surely many winters before that).

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KD - Pre-migration wandering

    As did her predecessor, HW, KD left the Island after her nest failed and wandered around southern New England. She stopped at Lake Assawompsett (the first two dots on the map NE of the Vineyard), then went down to an area near Storrs, CT, where she spent most of July. She made one quick trip back to the Vineyard, returned to CT, and then spent a couple of weeks back on the Vineyard before starting her migration on 16 August.

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 KD Migration

KD left the Vineyard in mid August and made it to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay on 23 August. She then turned around and backtracked, making it up to the Delaware River between NJ and PA, where she spent a few days before heading south in earnest. 

She was traveling pretty slowly, arriving in Cuba 18 days later. After another 11 days, she left Hispaniola and then landed on a boat. We know this because her rate of travel slowed down to a crawl and we were getting signals from her radio for three days out over deep water. Ospreys can't rest in the water or stay in the air for three days, so she must have been perched on a boat.

The signal from her radio returned to Haiti and then stopped. I suspect that she was shot on the boat and a fisherman took the radio back home as a souvenir.

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Felix Neck's KC and KB    We trapped a new pair of breeding Ospreys in 2001. KC (the male) and KB (the female) were nesting at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. The nest had been active for more than a dozen years, although the adults rarely successfully raised young.

KB Pre-migration Wandering

    2001 was no exception to the rule here with another nest failure. Also true to form, once the nest failed, the female began wandering, although in this case it would be more accurate to call it commuting. She spent most of the pre-migration period in NW Connecticut, but returned to the Vineyard four times before heading south on 11 August. Her "vacation home" was southwest of Lake Webster, formerly known as Lake Chaugunagungamaug. Just adding the distances traveled on her "commutes," she logged over 600 miles (1000 km) of frequent flier miles before beginning what should have been a 3,000 mile trip to South America.

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KB Migrates

Once she got going, she took the inland route to Florida and the typical Cuba/Hispaniola track. While crossing the Caribbean en route to Venezuela, like her neighbor KD, she landed on a boat and shortly thereafter we lost her signal. Again we have no idea what happened, but suspect foul play. Alternatively, she might have landed on the boat because she was weak and couldn't make it any further.

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KC Fall Migration
KC, the Felix Neck male, was the only bird we've followed so far that stayed close to home before beginning his migration. 13 September seems like a popular day to begin heading to South America. KC took the coastal route, passing through Cape May, NJ, and taking the shortcut across a bit of the Atlantic heading to northern FL. The rest of his trip was uneventful, and he arrived in the middle of the Venezuelan llanos (a wet savanna) on 9 October.

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Ms. Charlotte Fall Migration

    In June we trapped and tagged a female Osprey near her nest on the banks of the Catawba River about 10 miles north of Charlotte, NC.
       She stayed close to her nest throughout the breeding season and began her migration on 13 August. When she got to Cuba, she surprised us by heading west to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Hurricane Chantal was barreling up the Caribbean as she was on Cuba, so at first we thought she might have been blown off course by the storm, but a more careful look at the timing of her trip showed that she was already in Mexico when the storm got there. It's not unlikely, however that on her first migration she met a storm and was blown west to Mexico. Young birds on their first migration travel by instinct alone. On subsequent migrations, they will often retrace the route they took on their first trip south. This would explain her very unusual route to South America--she was only the second Osprey tagged in this study that did not go through Cuba.

     From there, she traveled south through the Central American isthmus, crossed two Andean cordilleiras and made a bee line for the lowlands of western Peru. The whole trip took a bit more than a month.

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