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- Osprey Main Page -
Migration Page -
Birds of Prey
Link to the 2011 Map page
Buck has made some interesting moves.
Jump to his
Belle seems to have found her winter location.
Jump to her new maps.
Thatch has settled down, but still exploring.
Jump to his
to the email "New Maps Alert" list.
Join the new Osprey Migration Google Group forum.
Visit the Westport River
2010 Osprey cams:
(See our tagged bird
Scroll down for links to maps, updates on old
birds, and bios for this year's class.
31 Dec 2010,
It was a tumultuous fall in the Caribbean.
Purple dots are birds we lost crossing the
Caribbean this year. We were already in the "T"s, with hurricane
Tomas passing over Haiti when Thatch made the
crossing. As I feared, Neale was
swept up in the wake of Hurricane Richard. His last
signals were out in
the middle of nowhere over the Caribbean. On the bright side, Belle
made it from Martha's Vineyard to South America
in a remarkable 7 days. She has started and
stopped a few times and is now in the Brazilian
state of Rondonia, at the southern fringe of the
Amazon Basin--the farthest south any of our
tagged birds have ventured. And she may not be
done yet! Despite my definitive
statement that Thatch was definitely done with
his "migration lite" (in North Palm Beach),
he made it to South America in the most
nerve-wracking Caribbean crossing we've
witnessed to date. After a couple of weeks'
layover, he kicked back into migration mode and
was, until Belle's last move, our southernmost bird! Sanford has settled down
Island in the Bahamas, where the bonefishing is
legendary. N.F. Bob is in Venezuela apparently settled down, and Sr. Bones
also has also arrived on his wintering grounds, in a rather unusual habitat
(mountainous and high elevation) in Colombia.
Buck, on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, has entered the
countdown phase of his 18-month "winter" in
South America. He should head north in 5-6
months. He has kept a usually boring
period interesting with a few random junkets
around northern Venezuela.
to go straight to a bird's maps or bios.
(More details on the project below).
Juvenile - Martha's Vineyard/MA
- Safely in Venezuela on
the shores of Lake Maracaibo.
Updated 4 Jan 2011.
Juvenile - Cape Henlopen/DE
- Deep in the Brazilian
7 Jan 2011.
Juvenile - Great Falls/SC
'10 Map -
Made a few unusual forays away from his
wintering area, but settled down again. Due back in '11.
Updated 6 Jan 2011.
Juvenile - Martha's Vineyard/MA
- On her second migration south. Lost in the
Caribbean, just 25 miles from Venezuela.
Last map 10 Oct
Adult male - West
branch Westport River/MA
'09 Map -
Map '10 - Transmitter
removed Apr. '10 - No fall maps.
'09 Adult male -
'09 Map -
Map '10 -
Died (or lost his
transmitter) in Curasao.
Last map 15 Oct
'09 Adult male - East
branch Westport River/MA
- '09 Map -
Shot at a fish farm in
Cuba a month or so before migrating north.
Adult male - East
branch Westport River/MA
Now using Hix's
transmitter. Died on migration, just 20 miles
short of Venezuela.
Last map 15 Oct
'10 Adult male - Jamestown/RI
- Fledged 1 young. Died
crossing the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane
Last map 25 Oct
'10 Adult male - West branch Westport River/MA
- Map -
Now using Hudson's
transmitter. Nest failed. Made it to Cuba and
then went north to the Bahamas!
Updated 7 Jan 2011
Adult male - Nantucket/MA
- Map -
Nest failed. Began
migration on 10 Sept. Now in Colombia. He has
settled down in a weird place (high elevation and
Updated 7 Jan 2011.
Adult male - Mattituck, Long Island/NY
- Map -
Nest removed from cell
tower early in the nesting season. Now in
Venezuela, settled down for the winter.
3 Jan 2011.
Overview of our
This is the 11th year of our satellite
tracking and the 13th 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
At the end of this trapping season we've now trapped 72
Ospreys and satellite tagged 42 of that
total (31 young and 11 adults). Over the 13
years of our censuses, we've counted 860 nesting
attempts and watched 992 young fledge!
to details of our census work (a
couple of years still need to be updated, but
the big picture is there.)
Tagging new birds in 2010
Westport River, Nantucket, and Rhode Island adults-In late
April, we trapped Hudson and removed his
transmitter. I went up to New England in early
May and tagged 4 new adult males. We tagged an
adult male (Neale) in Rhode Island on Conanicut
Island (Jamestown). Over on the Westport River,
the transmitter that Hudson took to Venezuela
and back is now on "Sanford," one of Hudson's
neighbors up the west branch of the Westport.
The transmitter we recovered from Hix was
deployed on "Gunny," an east branch male.
On Nantucket, we were not able to retrap Mr. Hannah, so
he gets to keep that transmitter for another
year, but we did put a new transmitter on his
neighbor, Sr. Bones.
Juveniles- I keep trying to
wrap up the studies of juvenile migration, but
somehow can't quite kick the habit. We had a
back-logged transmitter from last year to
deploy on a Delaware bird at Cape Henlopen State
Park, a recovered transmitter (Meadow's)
put that on another Vineyard youngster, and we
have a sponsor for a young bird on Long Island.
recovered Meadow's PTT (transmitter) from the
Dominican Republic (she was an '08 bird that was
shot down there in 2009), and are working on
getting Bea's PTT back from Venezuela. Someone
has it in hand, but we can't seem to motivate
him to send it to us. Isabel's PTT, which was out in a
pasture 50 miles south of where we last got
signals from her, eluded our attempts to find it, despite extraordinary
efforts of our colleague Adrian Naveda-Rodriguez.
We were going to tag 3 young this year, but I changed
my mind on the last one. In Delaware we tagged a
young male at the nest where we tagged Claws
back in '07. The nest we'll
tag there has an
internet cam. We
put Meadow's transmitter on a Martha's Vineyard
young at the nest where we tagged Meadow in '08
and Isabel in '09.
On Long Island, in the town of Mattituck overlooking Peconic Bay, I
decided to deploy our
new PTT on an adult male. We were set up to trap
a juvenile, but when we got Dad before Junior, I
decided that increasing our sample size of adult
males for our studies of home range size from 8
to 9 was more productive than increasing our
sample size of juveniles from 31 to 32. (Skip
down to the log for the summer trip.)
As 2010 began, we were down to only
birds--Mr. Hannah, Ozzie, Hudson, Buck, and Penelope. Of the six birds in the "class of '08," only
Homer's sister Penelope (MVY) made it through the year.
Penelope saw in the new year in a very remote corner of French Guiana and should
be safe at least from humans. Buck, our only survivor from the
seven young tagged in '09 seems safe and sound in northern Venezuela.
Two of our three adult males (Hudson
and Mr. Hannah) made it home. Sadly, Ozzie
started visiting a fish farm in Cuba a month or so before he was due to come
home and he disappeared, probably shot.
In 2009, Conomo made it home to Martha's
Vineyard and started commuting between the Vineyard and northeastern
Connecticut. He either died or lost his transmitter up in CT early in the summer
As of 3 August 2010, only Penelope and Buck
now remain from all the previously tagged juvenile birds. Penelope began migrating north
3 April 2010 and got to Cape Cod on 1 June. She could see the Vineyard, but
decided to try out central Massachusetts before getting back to the Vineyard.
She has now been in every state in New England except Vermont and Maine, and has
been back for a cameo appearance on Martha's Vineyard, spending a day or so at
one of the ponds where she learned to fish 2 years previously. She seems to be
finding the Merrimack River in New Hampshire much to her liking. Buck is down on the shores of Lake Maracaibo in northern Venezuela. He seems to
be in a good spot--not many people and no fish farms in the area!
Who's Who - Bios of the
Class of '10 (newly tagged birds)
||Neale - Rhode Island adult male nesting on
Conanicut Island (Jamestown). He was banded as a nestling in 2006 on Block
Island about 25 miles (40 km) from his current nest. This nest, is 500 yds (460
m) from the Marsh Meadows nest, where we tagged a couple of young in years past
(Conanicus and Comet). This is the second year the nest has been used and the
first time the pair has laid eggs.
We trapped Neale on 5 May, the first day of my trapping
odyssey. Our target nest was the Marsh Meadows nest, where the Conanicut Island
Raptor Project maintains a NestCam. Unfortunately, when we got to that nest, we
discovered that the birds had not yet laid eggs, so we had to move on to find
birds that were incubating. The next nest we checked, at the back end of the
marsh, looked good. The female was incubating and the male was around, so we got
We set our ladder and put the noose carpet over the 3
eggs. Within minutes a bird landed on the noose carpet and was caught. When we
picked him up, I thought he looked awfully small (meaning it would be the male),
but because we almost always catch the female first, we weren't sure. So we set
the other noose carpet and went back to take some measurements on the bird in
hand. While we were moving away, we caught the other adult. We did indeed catch
the male the first. We quickly banded and measured the female and let her go so
she could get back to incubating the eggs. We then processed "Neale" and
outfitted him with his new transmitter. Neale's nest is on the Neale
family farm on a pole the Neale's set up, so the name choice was an easy one.
Gunny - East branch Westport River adult male
of unknown age. Now wearing Hix's transmitter.
|| We caught this male at the third nest we tried on a
rather windy, cloudy morning on the east branch.
At our first nest, we caught the female quickly and
reset the noose carpet on the nest. The male was
caught quickly, but he slipped out of the
nooses. We tried again, but he wanted no more of
that weird contraption. After a short wait, when
it became obvious that we weren't going to catch
him, we released the female and moved on to
The female at this nest was already banded. Once we got
to the records, we discovered that she was
banded on the Westport River 17 years ago! This
is not a longevity record (that's 27 years), but
it's getting old.
At our next nest we caught the female quickly and then
reset for the male. He is apparently not
"liberated." He seemed to think that his job is
fishing and the female's job is incubating eggs,
so he wasn't particularly interested in landing
on our trap.
| So on to
Plan C, a bit further downriver. Here, just
south of Gunning Island, we found a cooperative
pair with a male that has no inhibitions about
taking over "woman's work." Once we had the
female in hand, we quickly caught the male.
After banding and measuring the female, we let
her get back to the nest and outfitted "Gunny"
with the transmitter we recovered from Hix. Hix,
a young fledgling tagged last summer 2.4 miles
(3.9 km) upriver from Gunny's nest, went up to
Maine, where he was killed almost certainly by a
- West branch adult male now carrying Hudson's transmitter.
|| After a cool, windy, rainy afternoon trapping on the
east branch, the tagging crew enjoyed a bowl of
hot soup at HQ and then headed up the west
branch of the Westport River. We got to the
target area around 16:00, where three pairs nest
on some small islands just north of the Sanford
flats. The flats are just under 2 miles north of
We arrived to find all the females dutifully
incubating and all the males missing in
action--presumably out for an afternoon fishing
We pulled up and waited for someone to come home. While
we waited someone changed the weather channel.
The wind died and the sun came out. It was hard
to believe that afternoon was attached to the
first half of the day.
After a half hour or so, the male at the easternmost
nest arrived with a fish. He perched and ate a
bit. The males usually eat the heads of the fish
they catch before delivering them to the
females--call it overhead (ouch!) or postage and
Once he had his snack, the pair transferred the fish
and incubation duties.
|We waited for the female to have a good meal before moving in to set the noose carpet. As we approached, both birds flew up to let us know what they thought about our trespassing. Fortunately, the female wasn't quite done with her fish and didn't want to give it up, so once we set the noose carpet, she went back to feeding and the male tried to return to his incubation duties.
Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, for his
gallantry Sanford was rewarded with a new GPS
backpack. While we were fitting Sanford for his
new transmitter, the female finished her fish
and returned to the nest to get back to
Sr. Bones - An adult male on Nantucket,
banded in 2005 four miles from his current nest, which is 600 yds from Mr. Hannah's
nest. "Sr. Bones" was named by Nantucket's 1st graders. This could be my
favorite Osprey name EVER.
Five airports, one
rental car, one brother, and two ferries later, we had tagged three more Ospreys--two
juveniles and an adult male.
Time to catch the first bird in Delaware - 11
hours (Yawn!). Time to catch the first bird on Long
Island - 7 minutes.
Thatch - A young
Osprey tagged atop a 75' tower at the SPI Pharma plant near Cape Henlopen State
Park on 26 July 2010.
| Up at 05:00
and off to SPI Pharma plant in Lewes, DE. Got
there at 0600 and had the noose carpet set over
5(!) bunker (menhaden--a favorite fish), which
were frozen at the time, by 0640. The young and
female were in the nest when we got there. The
young flew off as I was halfway up the 75’
ladder. Once the dust settled a bit, the young
perched on the antenna a bit above the nest. We
went inside and watched the security camera for
an hour or so. The female was on the railing
most of this time, while the young was looking
down at the fish under the noose carpet. He kept
leaning, getting ready to jump down, but never
made the leap. We came down for breakfast around
Over the next 11 hours the birds were sort of around,
but never really close to the nest. The young
would come and hover over the nest off and on,
but never really looked like he was going to
alight on it. At 0910 the young flew down to the
pines south of the nest, where the female was
perched. I went down there off and on during the
day to stir things up, but never got them back
to the nest. The male appeared at 09:20 with a
fish. We saw him off and on for most of the next
hour, each time we saw him the fish was smaller.
He came in with another fish about midday, and
at 13:30 we saw one of the adults with a pretty
big stick, which never appeared at the nest.
|| Then we went into
the doldrums. There was pretty much nothing
going on for most of the rest of the afternoon.
Late in the afternoon I walked down into the
pines where they’d been perched (the female and
young at least) and just hung out there being a
pest—she was scolding me and diving in my
direction at tree top level, but never went back
to the nest.
Finally, at 1710, the young came in and just landed on
the corner of the nest. He looked at the fish
and then turned away. The female came in and
landed on the antenna. She didn’t look
comfortable there, so I suspect she doesn’t
perch there often. Around 1720 the young turned
and walked over to the fish and was caught
quickly and surely. I lowered him down the 75’
to the ground and climbed down the ladder at
He was a feisty one—a real biter.
Thatch is named after Richard Thatcher, the former
president of the
Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, who was
instrumental in getting the Osprey Cam installed atop the SPI Pharma tower and
getting funding for the transmitter that Thatch is now wearing.
See more pictures of tagging Thatch at my Picasa Website.
Go to Thatch's Maps
Belle - This young
female was the third we've tagged at this very productive nest on the shores of
Lake Tashmoo on Martha's Vineyard.
||28 July 10 Headed out to
Tashmoo around 06:15. Had the noose carpet set
with 2 bunker (menhaden) by 06:40. Both young
were in the nest when we arrived. One was
eating. It left with the fish as we neared the
nest. We had a couple of passes, with the young
without the fish hovering over the nest, but a
little spooked by the noose carpet. Finally
around 20 min later the young with the fish
landed on the edge of the nest.
|The second young came hovering in--a bit of
sibling rivalry in action, I suspect. The one
with the fish got a little edgy about sharing
the nest, but the second young ignored the glare
from its sibling and landed right on the noose
carpet. At this point the first young moved a
foot like it was snared in a single noose. Then
the other walked a bit and was caught. In the
ensuing commotion, the first bird got caught in
a few more nooses, so when I got to the top of
the ladder, both birds were flapping around.
I quickly hooded them to calm them down.
Hoodwinked, they both just stood there,
wondering who turned out the lights.
We banded the one that didn’t have the fish and put
Meadow’s transmitter on the bird that was eating when we arrived, figuring it
was the alpha young and therefore might have been a bit more fit. Both birds
were in the intermediate range size-wise, making it hard to sex them. We named
this bird "Belle" after one of her human neighbors a couple of houses down the
See more pictures of tagging Belle at my Picasa Website.
Go to Belle's Maps.
North Fork Bob -
Mattituck, Long Island
was up the ladder just before 6 AM at a nest
only a few meters from the 5th hole at the North
Fork Golf Club. We had the noose carpet set by
06:10 and the adult female in hand a
record-breaking 7 minutes later! I didn't want
to tag her, so I went up and extracted her from
the carpet, leaving the carpet in place. We
banded her, took some measurements (she weighed
1.64 kg = 3.6 lbs), and let her go.
For the next hour and a half, the lone young at this
nest was mostly perched near the nest, but
didn't show a real interest in landing on the
nest, where I had laid out a fancy Mediterranean
bronzini (European seabass) beneath the noose
carpet. (The evening before we went to a high-end
fish market rather than a bait shop to get our
At 08:10 a
male landed on the nest and was caught immediately. He wasn't struggling, so we
let him stand there for a while, hoping the youngster would fly to the nest to
be fed by Dad. Junior just begged loudly from a near-by perch and didn't seem to
want to go to the nest, so I went up and got the male out of the noose carpet.
I then made a spur-of-the-moment decision to tag this
bird. With memories of the 11-hour marathon wait to catch the youngster down in
Delaware fresh in my mind, I decided to tag the bird-in-hand, adding another
male to our study of home range size and foraging ecology rather than waiting to
catch the young. Tagging the male increased our sample size for adult males from
8 to 9, which was a more significant return on the investment than increasing
our sample for youngsters from 31 to 32.
We came back to check on them around 11:00. Mom and the
young were on the nest enjoying the bronzini, which was a big one and would keep
them happy for the rest of the afternoon.
When I downloaded the first data for this bird, a
nagging suspicion was confirmed. It seems North Fork Bob should have been named
"Light-taloned Louie." Just before we caught the male at the nest, others in our
group noticed a male flying over the nest with fish in its talons. The bird we
saw land in the nest and then caught didn't have anything in its feet. It's
unusual for a male to land in its nest without food. I didn't think of this at
the time, but later, as I reran the whole process in my mind, I wondered if we
hadn't caught one of the neighbors who couldn't pass up the chance for a
freebie. He must have thought that if no one else wanted that fish, he'd be
happy to take it.
Since we trapped him, he hasn't been
even near our target nest, but is hanging out about a mile west. Lots of points
at one spot. A little detective work revealed that he had a nest on a cell-phone
tower and that the nest was knocked down as part of tower maintenance during the
spring. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation now knows about the
nest, so he should be able to nest undisturbed next spring.
Wildlife biology in never short of surprises.
more pictures of trapping Bob at PicasaWeb. Go to
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