Sunday, April 09, 2006

Osprey ingenuity

Aside from Red-tailed hawks, I think Osprey must be the most cosmopolitan of nesting raptors in these parts. So long as there is water within a reasonable distance and a suitable structure on which to build a nest; they will do so.

This photo was taken last week at Sandy Hook, where there are multiple pairs of nesting Osprey. Most pairs there nest on man-made platforms on the salt marsh, but a few, like this one, nest in the chimneys of the building on officer's row overlooking the bay. They are quite used to pedestrians below their nest, but were agitated when I stopped to take photos.

In the town where I live, Osprey have nested for the past few years on a cell tower overlooking the railroad tracks and a lumber yard. The nest is huge and I'm delighted to see the pair when I stop for gas on my way to work in the morning. Often, at home, I will see them coming and going high above my yard.

In South Jersey, Osprey build their nests on channel markers, close to the water's surface. There is a pair with a "natural" nest in the photo at right, very close to the water level at the reservoir where this photo was taken today. The park naturalist told me that the reservoir is at 97% capacity now and if that were to increase, their nest would be flooded. My husband and I visited the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center today while out looking for ponding supplies. The center has lots of great displays, but the biggest draw for my husband are the Bald Eagles. They've nested here for a few years and are easy to see. My husband commandeered the binoculars today while I was taking photos and had a nice look at an Eagle being harassed by two Osprey. Sadly, the nest has failed again this year as the eggs didn't hatch. Last year, the female of the pair died during egg-laying, so I guess it's not a surprise that this pair with a new female would not be successful at their first attempt. This is one of maybe 3 or 4 nesting pairs in my county so I'm very concerned (and thrilled!) with them. I hope they will get it right next season.

The environmental center has an *Osprey Cam* so that visitors can have a close-up view of the pair. I wonder if there are eggs yet based on this birds posture on the nest. They've only been back for a 2 or 3 weeks now, but considering all the activity *ahem* I saw out at Sandy Hook last week, Osprey don't waste any time before they start breeding.


Susan Gets Native said...

OH, I just love ospreys. The first one I saw ever dove down right in front of me, caught a fish and retired to a tree to eat it. I could have fainted.

Sandy that the place you volunteer?

Endment said...

What a wonderful bit of information -- thanks for the link.

The osprey is a beautiful bird to watch!

LauraHinNJ said...

Yep, I volunteer there. No ospreys on our chimney, though. I love them too, especially their sweet call. So surprising from such a big, fierce-looking bird.