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Thread subject: rough year for ospreys
Name Date Message
Carla 03/08/10 04:16 pm Not only do the ospreys seem slow to start their trip north but I am afraid that many of them coming to this area are going to have to start from scratch building their nests. I drove around Shady Side today checking on the nest of knew of and found the five that were not built on platforms (top of power poles, light at sports field, & tree) were either completely gone or only a few sticks left. Of course, DV has not put the cam platform back up and all the other platforms are empty of sticks but at least those pair haave base to build on.
Melanie 03/08/10 04:43 pm Greg at Jug Bay lost 10 platforms (nearly 25%) due to ice. Jug Bay just got it's first returning bird - it showed up day later than last year.

Blackwater has sustained a lot of platform loss which I will leave for Lisa to elaborate on.

I closely monitor a birding listserve that covers MD & Virginia up through the Maritimes. Osprey have just started to be spotted in Maryland this weekend. Some years they have been seen as early as February 9. They took their own sweet time last year, too, but there was awful weather blowing out of the north that made for unfavorable migrating conditions. Who needs to fight a head-wind?
Kelly 03/08/10 05:35 pm UK nests have also suffered having experienced its worst winter in decades. Roy Dennis made this report on February 6th:

"Harry telephoned me last night to tell me that the osprey nest at site K06 had been broken off by the winter’s heavy snow. I went over this morning, but even with my 4x4 I couldn’t get through the forest tracks to the nest area because so much snow was still lying in the forest. I walked to the nest site and found that the top of the Scots pine, which used to hold the nest, had also been damaged by the weight of the heavy snow so was no longer any use for ospreys. Over two feet of snow had fallen on many of the forests in Moray in mid winter and the weight had broken many big branches and even the trees themselves. Next I checked a nearby tree where we had built a nest about 8 years ago when the nest tree was previously damaged by high winds. Our man-made nest had also gone, so I checked other nearby trees and found a good one ideal for building a nest platform, ready for the ospreys when they return, because this is a very successful pair of older ospreys, they reared 3 young last summer, and we do not want to lose them from this very secure site. We need to wait for better weather for tree climbing and nest building. With snow still covering the forest roads, it was ideal for checking mammal tracks to see what had been about – I found red deer, roe deer, fox, wildcat, brown hare and red squirrel as I walked back to my car. It’s great to think that in less than 2 months the first ospreys will be back from Africa but I wonder how many more eyries have been damaged by this winter's heavy snow."

Bad enough they have challenges migrating, but to come home to, well, no home that's devastating. Difficult times ahead :(
Shelley 03/08/10 05:51 pm Mother Nature has had a field day with her weather tantrums this year affecting human habitat as well as animal habitat all over the globe, it seems. Scary.
Celeste 03/08/10 08:17 pm Roy Dennis really does sum it up...I guess wildlife does what it has to do, but to return from their long migration, and to have to sometimes "fight" for their nest under normal returning conditions, , and now to not even have a nest is really difficult at best.
FOB Webmaster 03/09/10 07:20 am Our staff have told me they plan to put the lost water platforms up this week. I know one of them washed up on shore, but I think the others will need to be replaced with new platforms.

We lost three out of four water nests along the Wildlife Drive. There were probably others lost offshore that I'm not aware of.

My concern is how dependent ospreys are on artificial platforms. If there aren't enough quality nesting trees that suit the ospreys, and the platforms are gone in many areas, what do they do. I don't think it's as simple as finding another tree, because they weren't using trees to begin with.

What did Poole say -- something like 90% of osprey nests on the East Coast are on artificial platforms.
FOB Webmaster 03/09/10 09:22 am I should mention there's a new organization helping with the placement of osprey platforms in the Chesapeake Bay area. The guy running this group used to do platforms for Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage:

Delmarva Nesting Foundation
Melanie 03/09/10 10:52 am I don't know if they are as dependent as we think they are - there was at least one new "natural" nest in Jug Bay that got started last year and there were some unclaimed platforms.
Carla 03/09/10 06:34 pm Was up at CBF today and the girl there was telling us that they have noticed that their osprey are starting to build nests in the dead trees there. With the C.G. and N. R. police taking the platforms off the markers, tree nests may become more common.
FOB Webmaster 03/10/10 10:18 am That would be good if they used trees more. Of course dead trees are more likely to fall than healthy ones and might increase competition with eagles -- at least at Blackwater.

The one good thing about our osprey platforms is the eagles were never interested in them.

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Last modified: Sun March 7, 2010