I have seen my first osprey back on its nest! And it's a female. We used to expect that males would return first , but that is not always the case. Sometimes they seem to arrive together and sometimes the females make it back first. We will see if her mate survived migration. She has always been a fairly early return. So osprey season has officially begun. Time for all the wonderful volunteer monitors to begin checking nests! I will get my scope out and begin reading bands.
I have to edit this post as we have now confirmed two ospreys back on their nests...one is a male and one is a female ...both waiting for their mates to show up. I suspect there are other birds back as well, but since the nests we are monitoring are spread out over eight counties, it takes a lot of time and a lot of gas to check them all. This is a labor love with little financial support, so I need to be careful about the miles put on my old hi mileage car. I drove 40 miles and checked four nests today. Most are still empty. As these birds show up, they will usually check their nests / territories but then seek out fishable waters, so our sightings may be sporadic until the lakes open up a bit more. We always need more help watching over these nests if you are interested in monitoring one thru the breeding season and we REALLY need the publics help in reporting new nests to us. The ospreys are increasingly nesting on cell towers, power poles and lights over ball fields, so keep looking up!
Monday, March 18, 2013
The first ospreys have returned to their nests in New Jersey and in England...so ours cannot be too far behind! Maps of migrating birds show clouds of them south of this cold front that is keeping us firmly entrenched in winter. It seems as if these slow downs in northward movement often brings more ospreys back in pairs...as if they meet up south of here and make the last leg of their journey together. We will see what this year brings. We always need help watching over all these nests ( 88 known nesting territories in 2012), so if you would like to monitor a nest thru the season, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I find it hard to believe that we are rapidly approaching the 2013 osprey season already! But it's true! They are on the way back to their territories. Last year was so warm in March that we did have some very early sightings in mid month...but most returned at the normal time beginning in late March. With all the snow and frozen lakes, I expect they may begin to show up in the last week of March. Of course since ospreys migrate to south and central america, they begin their migration north as a result of hormonal changes, not in response to weather. I believe that if they encounter snow and frozen lakes, making fishing impossible, they slow down and hang out in states south of here until things begin to open up. So weather may affect the final leg of their migration. In my 20 years of studying these birds I have seen the occasional early return...and it may be that they return to briefly check their nesting territory and then seek out open, fishable waters to wait for lakes to open. This may explain an early sighting followed by a period of no activity at a nest. The population continues to grow in the metro area and, as always, I can use help monitoring these nests, and hope that new nests and behavioral observations will be reported to me at email@example.com. or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again to all who helped me last year, and I look forward to hearing from you all again soon! I couldn't do it without you!