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Thread subject: Some interesting info
Name Date Message
karen 03/21/05 12:28 pm Karen,
The males arrive before the females normally. I wouldn't worry about a 4-day gap. If the female doesn't return, he'll accept a new bird, if one's around. Pretty unlikely that he won't find a taker. If he doesn't find a mate or if the nest fails, he's likely to leave the area and wander around until it's time to migrate. We've seen this in a number of Vineyard Ospreys and are actually going to publish a short note on the behavior.
I'm not sure I understand the question about the nest bowl. If it's dark grey, it's probably whatever he brought in to line the nest with. It wouldn't be oil from him or anything to do with his feathers.


PS I did check in with your Osprey cam last year. I particulalry liked the sound feed. Once I saw the female look up at something and I could hear the engine of a small plane as it flew over, obviously what she was watching.

-----Original Message-----
From: Karen []
Sent: Mon 3/21/2005 11:19 AM
To: Bierregaard, Richard
Subject: Another Opsrey question

Hi if you do not mind me bothering you again and if it is an imposition please tell me ... the male osprey ( we think the same as last year ) has returned and worked very hard fixing the nest for 4 days now ... but no female has arrived. IF his mate from last year did not survive the winter how long will he try for a new mate and if unsucessful will he stay the summer alone on this nest or abandon it? Have you had any situations like this on Marthas Vineyeard?

and one other question ... in nest building the male thrusts his chest into the nest wall to shape it but the nest in that bowl area is also now dark grey ... is this perhaps oils or feathers?

Again any help is appreciated ... we are not students per se but are very loyal osprey watchers

our camera site if you are interested is

Karen Miller

karen 03/21/05 12:38 pm did anyone see him bring in nesting material that made the darker part of the bowl? or is that just a shadow?
Tim P 03/21/05 12:56 pm I have seen as he pushes with his chest he has been digging with his talons into the bowl or well.
The dark grey seems that it would be compost and broken down wood material.
DaveS 03/21/05 01:10 pm Tim, you are basically right about the composted material. The nest is typically lined with dead eel grass (seaweed) which breaks down after a while. The birds will bring more to the nest all season to keep the lining soft for the eggs and later the chicks. Over the winter it gets sun bleached, and when the bird scratches in the nest it uncovers the darker, unbleached compost. How does that sound?

Celeste 03/21/05 01:22 pm Whatever happens to the nest this season.....we are still up close and personal observing behaviors that one would not be able to do from the ground. Last year we all discovered the feeding of the dead chick......something the "experts" had not witnessed according to David Gessner....although it will be terribly disappointing to not have what we have become "used" too, I am hoping that even if different things are happening this season than the "normal" experience, there will be things to discover and learn.
Marie 03/21/05 01:41 pm I did see the male osprey bring in a very large object 30 mins or more ago. I call it the bed -in-a-bag. It trailed well behing him as he flew into the nest At first I though thta it was some huge fish.Looked like either a large piece of dried kelp or a big black plastic bag. It has a crispy sound to is when being pushed into the nest wall. We are all learning new things this season. One thing we can say is that few events in the bird world are really predictable.
Tim P 03/21/05 01:53 pm Sounds about right to me Dave.
How high is the stack of nesting material on the platform?
As I mentioned in a previous post, This male seems to be a harder worker then past males.
Maybe he has been remotivated by not having a mate and is doing what he needs to attract one.
Tiger 03/21/05 02:06 pm Two years ago the mate of the the only paired male at Rutland water failed to return. Within 15 days he had paired up with a young 3yo female. What was particularly galling for one of the other senior males was this bird had been his g/f the previous summer.

This particular male has a sad record with females as it is now going into its eight year and despite numerous romances he has never managed to get a steady relationship.

Mind you Rutland Water is a strange place. It has now got 7 male ospreys but only one female! (not what you are thinking! ) :)

The remarkle discovery last summer was that two other Rutland males had successfully found mates in Wales. So although males are very loyal to their site it is not 100% so.

I think this osprey is particularly handsome. I wonder if the female ospreys will agree?
Marie 03/21/05 03:06 pm Tiger, I couldn't get into that never saw your handsome male, but stopped into the Rutland Ospreys where there are updates for 2005......No ospreys sighted there either at this point in time. They are erecting artificial nest poles too. They use a circular base but it didn't look like it had any holes so that rain water can filter through....I would have thought that was essential when England gets such downpours. I like Brookhavens idea of using a wheel frame/spoke base for the bottom of an osprey nest. That way water wont collect and destroy eggs or chicks.
Tiger 03/21/05 03:31 pm Sure you copied that URl ok? It works for me.

Your point about the holes is well made. Mind you I think that the platform is flat so may not need drainage.

DaveS 03/21/05 04:00 pm Marie, you posted an observation in which you say you heard a Pileated Woodpecker. That species is very rare on Long Island. What time did you hear it, I will try to find the clip. I suspect what you may have heard is a Northern Flicker. It has a similar call only faster in tempo.
Marie 03/21/05 04:38 pm I think I heard it about 45-to an hr. before I posted that I had heard maybe right about the Nr Flicker as sometimes they are difficult to determine whose who. However I have been listening to Pileated fairly often in a park where I go x 2 a week to observe the nesting Eagles. Hope you find it.....
karen 03/21/05 04:50 pm Tiger he is a beauty ... hard to believe he cant keep a mate!
Tiger 03/21/05 05:14 pm Oh no Karen that osprey is the new kid on the block. I am expecting him to find a mate.

I must see if I can find a pic of our unsuccessful male!

Tiger 03/21/05 05:20 pm Hi Karen,

Here is the serial non breeder. Maybe his attitude to the female in the pic hints at why he is not too successful with the ladies! :)
karen 03/21/05 05:43 pm sure does!
Marie 03/21/05 05:46 pm Finally got the you said........I hadn't copied right, Tiger...Dah.......lovely osprey. Love his rt leg band. Looks like he is one tough Osprey, and what a big fish he's landed.
Tiger 03/21/05 05:50 pm Yes I am looking forward to see him establishing a nest. He will be four years old this year.
Tim P 03/21/05 06:36 pm Marie & Dave,
I've never seen a Pileated Woodpecker.
My experience is that The Flicker and The Red Bellied Woodpecker both residents of this area sound very similar.
Marie 03/21/05 09:25 pm Thanks Tim,
I would say I am mistaken then. Sorry! I have never heard a red bellied woodpecker as we don't have them out west. I like the look of your red-headed woodpecker though as illustrated in Sibleys book......striking bird. Perhaps that woodpecker doesn't show up on Long Island either. Lets say I heard a flicker instead. I am happy to be corrected. Thanks guys!
Tim P 03/21/05 10:04 pm Which Sibley guide are you using ?
(5th printing may 2001)pg 307?
Ive never seen a red-headed(stunning)
I see Hairy,Downy,red-bellied & flickers.
Marie 03/21/05 10:34 pm That is it .......Tim.......same edition..... page 307.We have Hairy, Downy , Pileated, Red- breasted Sapsucker , Flicker and ocassionally Lewis's Woodpecker here on the Island

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Tom Throwe
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