Osprey Nest Cam 2014: Reality TV Featuring Our Wild Neighbors

Judy Haner is the Marine and Freshwater Programs Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama

UPDATE: July 21Getting ready to say farewell to Osprey Cam 2014.

Update by Matt Pelikan

Thanks to everyone for their interest in Josie and Elbert, Allie and Bama, and thanks for all the great comments and observations!

Both nests are now empty most of the time, following the successful fledging of all the young (Wynken, Blynken, Nod, Chachi, and Joanie!).

We wish we could follow the fledglings as they take on their next big job: learning to live on their own as adult ospreys. It’s an enormous challenge,  and sadly, the odds are that not all the youngsters will survive to raise fledglings of their own. But some probably will, and the parent birds, who are clearly skilled and experienced individuals, did everything adult Ospreys can do to get their young off to a good start in life.

Adult Ospreys typically return to the same nest over and over, so assuming they both survive, the adult birds will be back at their nests next spring, repeating the strenuous process we were able to witness this season.

If one of the pair fails to return, the survivor will find a new mate and try to defend the nest against other pairs who may try to take it over. It’s also likely that some or all of the fledglings that survive until spring will return to the area where they hatched. But they won’t be welcomed by their parents, who will be focused on another set of eggs and young and will treat their young from this year as intruders.

But although there is no room for sentiment in the world of the Osprey, we humans are allowed a little emotion. I’ll miss these complicated, feathered creatures, with their remarkable abilities and their relentless drive to survive and reproduce.

I feel privileged to have enjoyed an intimate look at the private lives of these birds.  And I wish all the members of both families strong updrafts and plenty of fish.

I hope that you will continue to watch and comment for as long as the cameras run and the fledglings continue to visit the nests and that you will join us again next season!

UPDATE: July 1 - The youngsters take flight, and your observations can help!

Update by Matt Pelikan

We have had reports of some first flights from viewers of the Wolf Bay and Orange Beach osprey cams.

We love all the excellent comments and observations!

Let’s put everyone’s sharp eyes to work answering a question that we don’t know the answer to: How do the adult ospreys react to the initial flights of their youngsters?

I’ve been able to watch the first flight of an osprey chick only once, and that time, the female didn’t even seem to notice that one chick had just jumped out of the nest.

But I have no idea if this the usual behavior, and I haven’t been able to find any information on this in books or on the web.

So if Wynken, Blynken, or Nod of the Wolf Bay cam or Chachi or Joanie of the Orange Beach cam make one of their early flights while you’re watching, please watch to see what their mother does, and note her behavior in a comment.

UPDATE: May 29 - The chicks have names, and why the camera is fuzzy

Many thanks for everyone who submitted names for the three osprey chicks. Our esteemed judges have selected the winning names: introducing Wynken, Blynken and Nod!

Many thanks to the following for submitting winning names: Erica Labouisse, Peggy Peters, Brenda Ploegstra, Barbara Gonshor, Sandy Sundquist, Barbara Lough, Daphne Webb, ML Hooper, Charlotte Doran, Deane Bauman and Patricia Benward.

You may have noticed the osprey cam has been a bit difficult to view lately. There’s no delicate way to say this: the ospreys pooped on the camera. And apparently, scored a direct hit.

We can’t clean it because that would disturb the birds. But with yesterday’s rains, the camera looks much clearer again. We hope you continue to enjoy the ospreys!

UPDATE: May 9 – Three chicks and a naming contest!

Alert osprey cam observers have counted three chicks in the nest. Now it’s time to name them.

Join our official naming contest here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: May 7Chicks have hatched

The wait is finally over as the two eggs incubated by Josie and Elbert for about 5 weeks have hatched!

Last week, coastal Alabama was slammed with heavy rains where certain spots, especially Wolf Bay, received more than 20 inches of rain in less than 24 hours causing significant flooding and road washouts in Baldwin County.

We were concerned how the eggs would fare from the mini monsoon, but I guess it’s true that rain does bring in new life.

Now the fun part of the osprey cam is about to begin by watching the babies grow as their parents feed them fresh fish caught daily in their backyard from Wolf Bay and seeing them grow and mature.

Check out the camera in the early morning during your coffee break or during lunchtime around noon to share a meal with the babies as they will be likely eating at these times.

In between, Josie keeps the babies warm by nesting on them since their feathers haven’t come in thick quite yet. As they get bigger over the next couple weeks, you will see them fidgeting under her. Get ready for lots of funny moments to be made by these future TNC superstars.

Check back regularly for more updates.

UPDATE: May 1 We have osprey eggs!

We’re just not sure exactly how many – some folks have spotted two and some say three.

Either way, we’re expecting hatchlings sometime toward the end of May. (Osprey eggs usually hatch within 35-40 days).

For the next four weeks, Josie will spend the majority of her time incubating the eggs and Elbert is on kitchen/catering duty.

Fortunately, Josie doesn’t seem to be a picky eater since it’s almost entirely fish on the menu morning, noon and night. Elbert will also occasionally take a turn sitting on the nest while Josie gets a no doubt much-needed break from egg duty.

Once the eggs hatch, things will start to get a bit more active – like newborns everywhere, the chicks will need to eat. And eat. And eat.

Over the next 55 days or so after hatching, the young ospreys will be busy growing feathers and eventually learning to use their wings.

Stay with us for the summer to catch all the osprey action – watching the young birds learn to fold their wings can be like watching someone try to fold a map in a high wind.

March 25

The biggest wildlife reality television stars are back for a new season! Welcome to Osprey Cam, 2014 edition!

Last year, thousands of viewers from around the world enjoyed the real-life drama of Allie and Bama, two ospreys who set up a nest in Orange Beach, Alabama. The cam provided an intimate view into the lives of nesting ospreys.

We’re back for a new nesting season with Josie and Elbert, named after the nearby Alabama towns of Josephine and Elberta.  And this year, there’s a new feature. Thanks to a special infra-red sensor – don’t worry, it doesn’t bother the birds – you can now watch the ospreys 24/7.

Ospreys have had a big year. After all, the Seahawks (another name for ospreys) won the Super Bowl. And more importantly, in our opinion, osprey populations continue to be strong.

That wasn’t always the case. Their numbers were decimated by DDT and other pesticides, which caused thinning of their egg shells. Between the 1950s and 1970s, osprey populations declined as much as 90 percent in some areas. Thanks to DDT bans, their numbers have rebounded and continue to grow.

Ospreys are known for their lengthy migrations, but the birds you’re watching are year-round Gulf residents.

And they rely on a healthy Gulf. As conservationists work to restore the Gulf and rebuild fisheries stocks through habitat projects, ospreys will benefit.

Ospreys are like the commercial fishers of the bird world. They’re highly effective fish catchers, too: studies show they catch a fish an average of one out of four tries, and it only takes them about 12 minutes of hunting to catch a fish. (That’s better than my own Catch per Unit Effort by a long shot!).

They dive feet first and catch fish with their sharp talons. They have a reversible outer toe that they use to point their fish head-first, which makes them more aerodynamic on their flight back to the nest.

You’ll see the results of those hunts back at the nest, as the ospreys tear small chunks of fish and feed them to the eager chicks. You’ll notice the chicks wrestling each other for a chance to get a tasty morsel.

The female osprey feeds the chicks, but the male will come shortly thereafter and clean out the nest. They’re great house keepers: the nest is very well kept and free of discarded fish carcasses.

As you watch, you’ll undoubtedly notice all kinds of interesting and unusual behavior. We’ll include updates here (at the top of the blog) throughout the spring and summer. And if you have questions, post them in the comments below. We’ll respond promptly during the day. Unlike the Osprey Cam, though, we will be asleep at night!

Also note that the osprey cam is reality – sometimes things that are upsetting or disturbing happen, like the loss of an osprey chick. These are wild animals and we don’t interact or assist  them in any way.

We hope you enjoy our new bird stars. Watch frequently, share with friends and help us in our work to protect and restore a healthy Gulf – benefiting people and ospreys!

Opinions expressed on Cool Green Science and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy. 

Posted In: Birds

Judy Haner is the Marine and Freshwater Programs Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, where she oversees marine, estuarine and freshwater restoration, coastal ecology, regional conservation efforts and linking communities with resources. She joined the Conservancy in 2010, just months before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now a key member of The Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico team, Judy has spent countless hours focused on post-spill recovery and long-term restoration efforts in Mobile Bay and the larger Gulf region. Judy received a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where she worked on crustacean population dynamics and studied the impacts of water quality on molting blue crabs. She has a dual major B.S. in biology and chemistry from Lynchburg College in Virginia and has previous experience in watershed management, habitat and hydrologic restoration, and management planning.



Comments: Osprey Nest Cam 2014: Reality TV Featuring Our Wild Neighbors

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Nice to have the Osprey Cam back, Bama and Allie are being shown on the City of Orange Beach cam…anxious for them to start this year’s family!!

    •  Comment from Bob Lalasz

      Hi, Loralee:

      Good to hear from you again. Please spread the word. We will try to add Bama and Allie back to the page so you can watch both if you wish.

      •  Comment from Loralee

        Thanks Bob!! I’ll share with all my Facebook friends…I’m sure they will remember my obsession from last year!! :-) I actually saw Allie and Bama mating, pretty sure that’s what I witnessed on the Orange Beach Cam. Yikes!! Now Allie is spending most of her days on the nest…anxious for babies!

  •  Comment from Jenni

    This is fascinating and hard to stop watching! So glad you have done this, so thanks!
    I’m wondering if you can tell me which one is the male and which is the female?
    I just saw both birds in the nest at the same time, one flew in and the other flew out with something in its talon.

    •  Comment from Bob Lalasz

      Jenni, we’ll ask Judy Haner to respond to your question. Thanks.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Jenni, TNC scientist Jeff DeQuattro said “Josie’s coloring is less defined than Elbert who displays sharp markings. I also think Josie is a little larger than Elbert.”

  •  Comment from Bob Lalasz

    We’ve also had some Twitter followers say they’ve seen an egg! Let us know in the comments if you see it as well.

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Looks like Allie and Bama have two eggs in the nest!! Yay!!

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Three eggs in Allie and Bama’s nest!!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Awesome – I haven’t been able to get a good count in Josie & Elbert’s nest since I saw the first one.

  •  Comment from Ram S

    So cute. Look at the bird’s own mark on its neck!

    http://screencast.com/t/nq3TJR6gJnRu

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Watching the live camera of the storm last night, I just can’t believe that both nest’s and both mom’s survived…crazy!! So happy to see them both this morning.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      We were worried too & happy to see all of the birds come back!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I saw Elbert fly in this morning with that humongous branch in one talon. He placed it carefully in the front of the nest and then took over nest duty while Josie went for breakfast.

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Allie and Bama have a chick in the nest. I looked in at 8:00 pm ET Sunday night and Allie was ‘yelling’ for Bama. She all of a sudden stood up, Bama flew in, dropped a fish, and a chick popped up into sight! Allie started feeding it. Wow!

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    Where is the new nest? This is so interesting! I was wondering too how you tell the Osprey’s apart – they have similar markings. Thanks for providing this for us!!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    The one I watch with Allie and Bama and now one new chick is here http://www.ospreycamera.com/ I like it better than the one above because the nest is more visible, the camera angle is better, and the light is better all day long. It’s in the same area as the Wolfbay one. Allie is bigger than Bama, she has a spotted chest area where Bama is solid white, but she also has a solid brown stripe starting at her beak and going back down her neck. Bama’s stripe is not solid, he has more white around his eye.

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      Thanks! I now have them both open in different tabs on my computer so I don’t miss anything!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Thank you Evelyn! I’m watching both now too :)

  •  Comment from Lavada

    There’s a chick in both nests!! I them being fed this morning and Elbert and Josie’s chick looks larger.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Thank you Lavada! Do you remember about what time it was – I’m going to try to watch and see if they have a routine.

  •  Comment from Jill Staples

    May 6 I believe we have one baby osprey

    •  Comment from Matt Miller

      Yes Jill, good spot! There is one chick that has hatched today. Keep an eye out — more may be on the way.

      •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

        Now there are two chicks! So much fun to watch! Thank you for providing this for us!!

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    I’ve been watching the Orange Beach nest all day. Allie and Bama are feeding the chick regularly. I never knew how dangerous it could be to walk under an osprey nest until today – LOL. It looked this morning like there were 2 eggs and the chick – but I just watched Allie feed the chick again and now it looks like only one egg left – perhaps the one was where the chick hatched from and they cleaned it out? I am not familiar with how they do things. VERY interesting!

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      Two chicks at Orange Beach! So cute

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    I think there are TWO chicks for Allie and Bama! This is so much fun!

  •  Comment from Emily Ginder

    There are two chicks in the Wolf Bay nest.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Yes, there are two chicks in each nest and they are being fed several times a day now. I hope the younger ones survive because older ones are stronger and greedier!!

  •  Comment from GumboGirlBeth

    I see hatchlings!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Allie is so cute when she’s sitting calmly in the nest with chicks spilling out from beneath her, like tonight as it got dark. I’ll bet she’ll be glad when that last egg hatches!

  •  Comment from Diane S

    Why does there appear to be a light on them at night? I assumed it would all be dark after sunset. Where is the light coming from..anyone know?

  •  Comment from Diane S

    It’s inteesting that if one views the other Osprey cam at night, the only light one sees is the artificial light provided by the commercial lights in the town…the nest is dark…but the nest we see here is illuminated somehow…I am wondering why and hoping the light I see isnt on them.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Diane, I think that the “light” you see on the infrared camera is the infrared heat coming from the birds themselves and the warmth of their nest.

  •  Comment from Diane S

    so cute!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Looks like a third chick in Allie and Bama’s nest.

    •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

      Whoa, maybe not a third chick. I just saw Allie feeding two chicks and the egg appears in front of them. It wasn’t as obvious in my pic where there is no egg visible, just a soft looking lump!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    The infrared light on the Wolf Bay nest is supposed to allow you to see the birds at night. The birds can’t see it, so it doesn’t bother them. Unfortunately, I don’t find it helpful as it just appears as a big smeary glow. Even though the other nest has no infrared and is dark at night, I find the nest gets more light from dawn to dark and I can watch it anytime during the day. The Wolf Bay nest doesn’t seem to get enough light during certain hours when it’s in the shade.

  •  Comment from Nancy K

    I saw three chicks being fed this morning.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Nancy, which nest were you watching? I see at least two with Josie & Elbert, but haven’t gotten a good view to tell if there’s a third yet.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        I see three chicks in Josie & Elbert’s nest!

        •  Comment from Debra

          Josie seems awful fidgety this afternoon.

  •  Comment from Nancy K

    When I saw the three chicks being fed I was watching the nest that shows at this link

    http://blog.nature.org/science/2014/03/25/osprey-cam-2014-reality-tv-bird-cam-alabama-gulf/

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Thank you Nancy! That’s Josie & Elbert’s nest. It’s the new link for this year, but there are a lot of Allie & Bama fans commenting too – you can see Allie & Bama’s nest at http://static.viewer.dacast.com/b/22189/c/40422#sthash.lamceBng.dpuf though I’ve been having trouble with the video there today.

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    I put a pic of the Wolf Bay nest chicks here: https://www.facebook.com/NatureConservancyGulf?fref=photo

  •  Comment from Lavada

    This is my first year to watch the osprey families, and it seems to me now that I may be watching a drama unfold in Allie’s nest. Bama is a good provider and brings in the fish on time. She has two chicks – one large and the other small. It seems lately that she feeds the larger one and ignores the smaller one. Now, today, she is covering the larger chick, but the small one is lying outside. Does she sense something wrong and is pushing it out to die? Has anyone seen this happen before?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, these are TNC scientist Jeff DeQuattro’s thoughts, but he warns that ospreys aren’t his area of expertise, so he’s not certain: “My thought about this is one of two things: 1. There are limited resources (meaning both fish and the time it takes to catch fish) and Josie/Elbert only have enough expendable energy to care for two of the three chicks. 2. There could be something wrong with the third chick like maybe a birth defect or that it was born a runt and had less likelihood of survival.”
      We are looking into getting an expert on ospreys who has more experience with the dynamics of nesting to answer this question with more certainty.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, I know that you said things were getting better in Allie & Bama’s nest. Still, I checked with Matthew Pelikan, a coastal ecologist, about this kind of behavior & he says “While it can be distressing for the human observer, an osprey nest is a harshly competitive place. The first egg to be laid also hatches first, and that chick has an advantage in size and maturity as it competes against its siblings for food and parental attention. Larger, louder, and able to elbow the other chicks out of the way, the oldest chick often gets more than its share of food and care, and is most likely to survive until fledging. If food is plentiful and conditions are good, a pair of adults may be able to fledge their full clutch of two to four youngsters. But in this case, it sounds like something has weakened one of Bama’s chicks, and she is concentrating her efforts on the stronger one (or, perhaps more accurately, the stronger chick is having more success attracting Bama’s attention). While this can be hard to witness, it makes good biological sense: it is better, from the perspective of the parent bird, to fledge one robust youngster with a good start on life than two or three weak and undernourished individuals that probably won’t survive.”

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Posted a pic of Allie and Bama’s family at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=751290221577663&set=o.276477469102915&type=1&theater

  •  Comment from Don Range

    Nothing is working — Appears someone printed, in yellow, the word –L O A D I N G …. on the screen.
    FRUSTRATING

    •  Comment from Bob Lalasz

      Don, sometimes the camera goes offline for a bit — that’s when you see the “LOADING” message. It’s back online this morning.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Thanks, Lisa. Since my post about Allie and Bama’s smallest chick, it seems to have acquired a little more fighting spirit and Allie is feeding it more. The problem is that the larger chick overpowers it. I suppose the survival of the fittest may prevail in this family. In the other nest, the three chicks are all growing so big. Elbert has been bringing in very large fish and Josie doles the morsels out equitably. They seem to be building the sides of the nest a little higher, too, before the chicks decide to roam!

    •  Comment from Emily Ginder

      It is completely normal for the first born chick to be fed first. There is a pecking order. The second born also does not eat very much for the first few days, so it might look like Allie is ignoring the baby. I observed Allie last year and what I have seen this year is exactly the same behavior I observed last year. She had two chicks fledge successfully.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Thank you both for the updates and information!

  •  Comment from Nancy Taylor

    I have been watching the cam on josie and elbert since it started streaming. I am up in Rhode Island and also watched allie and bama last year. I have so much fun watching them now that the chicks are there. The big storm was very scary to watch on the cam and I am glad that the nest is built so strong. We do have many osprey up here but no cams that I know of. Thank you for doing such a great job !!!!

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    How long until they decide that last egg is not going to hatch in Allie and Bama’s nest? It seems to be in the way. I almost thought it looked like it was hatching today but I am not sure. Difficult to tell – all the colors blend in so well. Nature is AMAZING! Thank you for doing this for US!!

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      Well I just made that comment, and went back to the nest and it looks like the egg is empty! Allie pushed it away and it looks like the top is off and it’s empty – I guess there is a new chick – but she laid back over the chicks after she moved the egg so I could not tell…guess we will all know next feeding time.

      •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

        I think 2 chicks are it for Allie and Bama. That third egg has been “discarded” and I did not see a third chick. The smaller of the two seems stronger today and eating well!

        •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

          I agree with you, watched Allie feed the chicks last night, early this morning, and just now, and only see two chicks. Saw the empty shell, so guess there will only be two chicks for them this year!

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            I was curious about the egg that didn’t hatch and asked our coastal ecologist, Matthew Pelikan to give a brief description of why this might happen “It’s hard to say what’s happening here, but very likely the egg isn’t viable and the adult has noticed. Just as viable human babies start moving long before they’re born, there is activity within a developing egg that an adult bird might well be able to detect.”

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Yesterday both nests were soaked and this morning there was a very strong wind and cooler weather. I felt sorry for the moms, but Josie managed to add a bit of humor today. She has been re-arranging the “furniture” all morning. There are some very recalcitrant branches and she is determined to tame them. She keeps looking to the skies as if hoping Elbert would come and give her some help.

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Have been watching Josie and Elbert for about 3 weeks. This is so fun-can’t stop. Today-did not start watching til about 2pm-Have not seen the 3rd baby yet today. And looked like the larger baby was pecking on the next smaller baby. Looked kind of one-sided-is this normal? Yesterday-both parents were away from the nest-then one cam back with something large and very furry. Could not figure out what it was and I don’t see it today. Appreciate any tips on what to watch for. thanks.

    •  Comment from Loralee

      It’s sometimes hard to watch, Linda. The third baby chick only has about a 38% survival rate, which is scary!! Last year I watched Allie and Bama’s nest and just got too involved, I worried about the smaller chick, fledgling, so much. There is only an 88% survival rate for the second born chick. I guess keeping in mind that these are animals in the wild, and that nature is sometimes cruel isn’t easy for us human parents!! :-)

      •  Comment from Linda Thompson

        Thanks-Loralee. I have gotten caught up worrying about the littlest one-the reality of nature-you are right. I did see
        the littlest one today-so will keep sending good thoughts
        for all. Did anyone see that big furry thing one of the
        parents brought into the nest? That is a puzzler for sure.
        Appreciate your giving me some down to earth facts.
        thanks!

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Hi Linda and Loralee, I asked Matthew Pelikan for an ecological perspective on the chicks’ behavior & the furry thing, he had this to add “The fact is, it’s a brutal world out there, and chicks compete against each other whenever there is anything worth competing for. Ospreys exhibit “asynchronous” hatching: they begin incubating as soon as their first egg is laid. Incubation warms the egg and starts development of the embryo inside, so the first egg has a head start on subsequent eggs. If a female lays, say, three eggs over a period of 8 days, the chick that hatches from the first egg laid will already have completed more than a week of rapid growth before the last egg even hatches. As a result, third or fourth chicks are much less likely to survive to fledging than first or second chicks.

          The arrival of the furry object is surprising, since ospreys rarely prey on anything other than fish. They do like to bring odd objects home to add to their nests, though, so perhaps this was a piece of fabric or something that the bird took a fancy to.”

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Matthew Pelikan thought of another possibility for the furry thing: “If an Osprey ever did take mammalian prey, it’d likely be a young muskrat grabbed by mistake or opportunity. Some sources peg the percentage of fish in an Osprey’s diet an 99%, so if that was a muskrat or something, its appearance in the nest was a rare event.”

          •  Comment from Linda Thompson

            Thanks for the info on the “synchronous” hatching. I did catch a glimpse of the littlest one today. It’s easy to spot the 1st one to hatch-the growth rate is amazing. And thanks for explanation on what the “furry” thing might have
            been. I don’t think it was a piece of cloth or similar-it was definitely a critter and large. It had bulk to it. When the parent brought it to the nest-she/he kind of tossed it in the nest-it was toward sunset-so that was the only look I got. It was gone the next morning. Still pulling for the littlest one. The camera just went blurry-could that be what I think?

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I’ve noticed that Josie and Allie both have a “blonde” chick. Is that any indication of the sex?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, Matthew Pelikan says “Female ospreys are generally darker than males, so the paler color may indicate that this is a male chick. I’m not sure if the sex of an osprey can be determined while the bird is still at the “fuzzy chick” stage, though, and it may be more likely that the color of this bird just reflects random individual variation.”

  •  Comment from RBarcilon

    What a wonderful treat to be able to view this! Thanks Nature Conservancy.

  •  Comment from Debbie Lewis

    Where is Josie, and where are the chicks? It’s 1:45 pm EDT and am becoming concerned.

  •  Comment from Debbie Lewis

    oops, never mind! Thank you, Nature Conservancy! and I appreciate all of the comments to learn from.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I just checked in to see how the ospreys are doing and the camera on Allie and Bama’s nest is blurry. Is that what I think it is? Even the chicks are able to get poop out of the nest now. Is the camera in range?

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Soooo disappointed that the Orange Beach Osprey cam is down for the season…I watched Allie and Bama last year and was hoping to watch them with their little family again this year!! So sad!! Guess I better turn my affection and attention to Josie’s bunch!! Love this opportunity to see the lives of these amazing creatures!! Thank you!

  •  Comment from Emily Ginder

    What happened to the camera at Allie and Bama’s nest? It was working earlier today.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      I’m not sure what happened to the Allie & Bama cam, but I did see the message saying that the camera is down for the season at http://www.ospreycamera.com/

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Thank you all for the great comments and questions. Matthew Pelikan, a coastal ecologist with the Nature Conservancy has graciously agreed to answer any questions, so keep them coming!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    I hope this won’t be considered rude, but I really miss watching Allie and Bama (I will definitely check back in on them next year), and while I will continue to watch Josie and Elbert, I find their nest hard to see, as I’ve mentioned before. I located another osprey pair, Audrey and Tom, whose nest is as close and personal as Allie and Bama’s, with an added perk of sound, and I’ve started watching them too. http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/Osprey-Cam
    They have three eggs, the first of which is supposed to hatch this week. There is some interesting back story on them, as well as video highlights of last season which was interesting. I really appreciate being able to watch ‘The Osprey Shows’ and thank any and everybody who make it possible.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Thank you Evelyn! We are happy to bring attention to ospreys whether it’s our cam or Chesapeake Bay’s.

      I do think that the Wolf Bay cam is getting better as the chicks get bigger. I’m finding it easier to tell what’s happening in the nest.

  •  Comment from Emily Ginder

    There is a lot of osprey cams, but the one in Orange Beach was good for daylight viewing. In addition, most nests don’t have chicks yet. As others have stated, the Wolf Bay viewing is not as good.

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    The parental instincts of these beautiful creatures amazes me every time I watch them. Thanks for providing us this opportunity!!

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    Oh no! This camera looks blurry today – hope we don’t lose this one too!

    •  Comment from Loralee

      Look’s like poo poo hit the camera…great aim!! Allie and Bama’s nest cam is back up and fairly clear!! YAY!

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        It does look like some poo got on the Wolf Bay camera – we’ll have to wait for rain to wash it away.

        Exciting that Allie & Bama are back, they must have found a way to fix the cam without disturbing the birds.

        •  Comment from Loralee

          I think we should think of names for Allie and Bama’s kids, also… I loved thinking of little Aubrie by her name, last year!! :-) Hooked on Ospreys!!

          •  Comment from Lavada

            I am fascinated with the Ospreys, too. I checked out the Decorah Eagles cam and that mother has a bunch of layabout teenagers! All they do is sprawl in the nest and sleep!!! The ospreys are cuter. As for the names, has Ozzie and Harriett been taken yet?

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          There is a for fun contest to name them, ends soon, see the top of the post.

  •  Comment from Lod

    What the heck’s wrong with the cam?

    Thanks for a quick fix, lod

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    So happy to see Allie and Bama’s camera back. The chicks are getting bigger!

  •  Comment from desiree

    I shared the site with several friends via email and know for sure that at least one responded, but I did not get a bonus entry. Any suggestions?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Desiree, if you have another email to enter with, go ahead and list all three names. If not, send me an email lfeldkamp(at)tnc.org & I’ll make sure that yours are included since you would have sent them on time.

  •  Comment from Jill Staples

    The 3 chicks are getting big quickly. Does anyone know at what stage they fly?

  •  Comment from Robert Fletcher

    I can only see one chick at Wolfbay there were three late yesterday. It is quite worrying. Also there is now only one chick at Ocean Beach. Can someone enlighten me on what might have happened to the other chicks.

    Robert, UK

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      I think I can still count three chicks moving on the Wolf Bay osprey cam, but it’s very hard to tell with the blur. I’m checking in with Matt Pelikan for more information. I am fairly certain that there is now only one chick in the Orange Beach nest. Has anyone else gotten different counts or seen what happened? Thank you!

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Yay! I just saw the second chick still in Allie & Bama’s nest – Allie had been standing in front of it, but they are both alive and kicking!

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          I think that all of the chicks are currently still alive an in the nests, but it is good to prepare yourself, because it would not be unusual for some or all of them not to make it through fledging.

          Here is what Matthew Pelikan writes, “I’m afraid now is the time to point out that, in a stable population, each female produces exactly two surviving young, on average, during the course of her life. (More, and the population grows; fewer, and it declines. Depending on region, osprey populations in the U.S. appear to be either stable or slowly increasing, and some researchers suggest that osprey numbers are higher now than at any time in the past.) For a bird like the osprey, which may live more than a decade and lay two to four eggs every year, this means that mortality is high among young birds; many never hatch, much less leave the nest, and most don’t survive long enough to attempt breeding. Starvation, disease, parasite load, predation by crows, ravens, or great horned owls, or being forced out of the nest (whether by accident or by a competing sibling) are among the factors that can kill osprey nestlings.”

          This hasn’t happened to this year’s chicks yet as far as we can tell, but if it does, “It’s likely that one of these causes, or a combination of them, has killed the other chicks, and the bodies have been pushed overboard by the adults.”

          As for reasons that it can be hard to count osprey chicks (even without a blurry camera), “Youngsters are often tightly hunkered down under the brooding bird, especially if the weather is cold, wet, or especially hot.”

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Since the two cameras in Orange Beach are still blurry, the one I linked above on Chesapeake Bay with Audrey and Tom has a new chick in the nest for those who might be interested.

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      I was really excited to see the new chick this morning too! Wonder when/if the third one will hatch. I also see that they took care of the egg shell. Their housekeeping amazes me – along with their parenting skills. Nature is amazing.

      •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

        Be sure and scroll down the page under the live cam and check out the videos of last year’s chicks. Audrey and Tom successfully raised three. There’s also a vid of them rescuing the last chick when he got tangled with some fishing line. It was amazing to me to see how close the nest is to their dock. And to see where Tom hangs out on the electric box to eat!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Posted a pic of Allie’s two chicks here https://www.facebook.com/NatureConservancyGulf They are fine and getting bigger!

  •  Comment from Evelyn Morton Tuck

    Audrey and Tom (of Chesapeake Bay) had a 2nd chick hatch today!

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    The camera lens on Josie and Elbert’s nest has been very blurry for several days. Just looked and could see outline of parent and some movement on the side of the nest close to the camera. Can anyone tell how many babies are left?
    Matthew Pelikan’s remarks are an eye-opener. Those little ones have to be really tough to survive and the parents-hard work to find food for all. Thanks so much for the opportunity to be an observer.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I want to add my thanks, too, for this fantastic opportunity to observe these dedicated parents. The camera on Wolf Bay is still blurry, but I think I saw three big chicks today. These two mothers couldn’t be more different — Allie is nervous and impatient, always calling for Bama to hurry up with the grub. Josie can spread herself to accommodate any number of chicks to keep them out of the sun. Bama seems to be a better provider. Today he brought Allie two fish within an hour. Josie had to wait all afternoon to get her fish. Even the chicks seem to have personalities. Allie’s largest chick is aggressive, but the smaller one is right there fighting for every bite. I wish we could see Josie and Elbert’s chicks better, but they seem to be pretty placid at this point.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      I see three chicks through the blur on Wolf Bay cam today too!

      •  Comment from Linda Thompson

        Today is 1st day since last Thursday to see the nest with less “poo” blur. Good grief! So glad to see 3 chicks! They have grown so much-getting color in their feathers and more defined markings on their heads-terrific! Love their names-Wynken,Blynken,and Nod-really suits them-good choice “esteemed judges’! Looks like a lot of vocalization going on from chicks and mom today. How long before they try out their wings?

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Hi Linda, Thank you for the question! Here is Matt Pelikan’s response “It takes ospreys about 8 weeks (+/-) to go from hatching to fledging, so the chicks will likely start leaving the nest around the Fourth of July. (They’ll hang around the nest area for most of the rest of the summer, getting progressively less parental care and while getting progressively more annoying to their parents!) The chicks could start exercising their wings any time now, standing up in the nest and flapping. The bouts of flapping get longer and more strenuous as time goes by; by the time the chicks actually take the plunge out of the nest, they’re generally strong enough to keep themselves airborne, and it doesn’t take them long at all to become pretty convincing flyers. Learning to hunt effectively on their own, though, will take them the rest of the season.”

          •  Comment from Lavada

            I am really looking forward to Allie’s oldest to take that plunge! It has become so belligerent that the younger chick hardly gets anything to eat now. Josie’s three seem to get along with each other with very little squabbling; which may be the case when there are three chicks instead of only two. I’ve been hoping that one day Allie’s little one will kick the bejesus out of it older sister (?) but I think it is too late for that! Incidentally, I know Josie’s three have names, but does Allie’s?

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            We only named Josie & Elbert’s and I haven’t seen any names for Allie & Bama’s on the Orange County site or the Alabama Coastal Foundation site, so I think that our regular commenters here could just agree on names to call them.

          •  Comment from Lavada

            As for the names for Allie’s and Bama’s offspring, my suggestion of Ozzie and Harriett still stands. I wonder if any of our commentators remember them.

  •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

    I am watching these cams from Pennsylvania….the 2 cams in Alabama are clear today – it must have rained! The chicks are getting so big!! Will enjoy watching them clearly today! Thank you!!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    The rains have come and the blur is gone!!!! I was very happy this morning to see three very large chicks in Josie’s nest and two very wet ones in Allie’s nest.

  •  Comment from John

    Very nice cam. My wife and I have been watching a pair in Cane Bayou near Lacombe LA. If you are wondering why the camera is dirty I have the answer. At 1607 Central Time on 5/29 one the the chicks had great aim when “nature called”. It it normal for guano to spray out of chicks?

  •  Comment from maria o'connor

    Any chance someone could nip out there and give the lens a wipe? It would be lovely to see the birds…

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    On the blurry camera – We can’t clean the camera without a risk of disturbing the ospreys. We wait for the rains to clear things up. I know it can be frustrating, thank you all for your patience.

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      Nataure takes care of everything – one way or another!

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Looks like Elbert just delivered what looks like maybe a crow or something like it to the nest for food. Can anybody see a better view?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Linda, I didn’t see it – if you have a screen capture option on your computer (and this goes for anyone watching), if you think to and are able to capture an image of any weird meals, please do & send them to me lfeldkamp(at)tnc.org – I’ll pass them on to Matt Pelikan, it would be interesting to document some of these events since osprey diets are usually almost entirely fish. So much so that this is Matt’s response “A crow would be a startlingly unusual prey item for an osprey, but very little is impossible with these birds. I wonder if this might have been a large, dark, fish, perhaps a catfish?”

      •  Comment from Linda Thompson

        Wow! Great to see a clean cam view-a lot of panting going on with the chicks. One did a biiigg stretch of one wing-already so big. When they start flapping-that nest will become small pretty quick. Elbert was perched on that tall tree in the background and Josie was really calling out to him. Thanks for all the great info. The “crow” looking thing that was brought into the nest-the cam was still somewhat blurry-but it def. had feathers and 2 legs. I don’t have a clue about the screen capture deal-where would I look?

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Hi Linda, Very interesting! Elbert seems to have a taste for unique meals.
          I use Macs, so I know that on a Mac it’s Command + Shift + 4. That gives you a cursor, you make a box of whatever part of the screen you want to capture, and then you press enter. It shows up as a file on your desktop.
          Here is the description of how to do it on a Windows computer: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/take-screen-capture-print-screen#take-screen-capture-print-screen=windows-8

          •  Comment from Linda Thompson

            Hey Lisa,thanks for the windows info. Will check this out.
            I hope it works fast-the cam cycles every few seconds-so it has to be quick to capture Elbert’s exotic offerings.
            The cam has gone dark and flickery-hope it comes back soon.
            Great view of the nest this morning-hope it stays “poo” free! Will be checking the cam every so often thru out the day. Thanks so much for your quick responses.
            Thought of another question-how far from the nest do the parents range in search of food? And does it change when they are not nesting?

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Thank you Linda! I enjoy the questions and I’m learning a lot too. Matt Pelikan is at a conference today & tomorrow so responses may be delayed for the most recent questions.

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Hi Linda, Matt Pelikan is back & here is what he has to say about osprey hunting: “the short answer is, “as far as it takes”! Ospreys clearly grasp that a long commute to and from a food source uses up lots of energy and takes time away from other important activities. So they try to fish as close to home as possible, and how good they are at finding food close to home is probably a major factor in determining how successful they are as breeders. They generally choose a nest site that is close to water, and return birds often fight over nests that they perceive as desirable. And they undoubtedly develop a very sophisticated understanding of where fish occur, and when, within a reasonable range of home. One Osprey pair I’m familiar with nests on a disused chimney right next to a pond that is stocked with trout. For much of the spring and early summer, these birds catch all they can eat within a few hundred yards of their nest. At the other extreme, I’ve been five miles offshore in a boat and been passed by an Osprey heading home with a fish that it must have caught even farther out. The hunting pattern probably stays the same regardless of whether they are feeding chicks: the difference, of course, is that pair of Ospreys with growing chicks may need several times as much food as a two unmated adults, forcing the pair with chicks to work harder and often fly farther to catch enough food.”

  •  Comment from Lavada

    How does Josie manage to look so well-groomed after a hard rain and Allie so frazzled? She looks absolutely miserable!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, That’s a very interesting observation. Here’s Matt Pelikan’s response on osprey grooming: “Hard to say what accounts for the difference between how Josie and Allie look after a rain. But here are some thought. For one thing, Ospreys, like other birds, have tiny muscles in their skin that give them some ability to move their feathers. So a bird can ruffle its feathers if its wants to improve air circulation (for example, to help the feathers dry more quickly). So Allie the Untidy may simply be manipulating her feathers differently than Josie is. Another possibility has to do with the condition of the feathers, which may reflect the overall condition of the bird. For example, birds spread oil secreted by special glands onto their feathers, which helps the feathers repel water (the process is called “preening” and involves running the beak through the feathers). But if a bird is malnourished, it may secrete less oil, and its feathers may have been in worse shape to start with. When such a bird gets wet, it may look more bedraggled than a healthier bird.”

      •  Comment from Lavada

        My idea on this is that Josie is several years older than Allie, ergo her feathers are stronger, more resilient and easily managed. At this point, I am definitely giving Josie the Mother of the Year award. Her chicks are growing nicely and are very well-behaved. When the food train comes in, they all line up nicely and Josie makes sure each receives their fair share. Also, she can spread her feathers to cover any number of chicks and she manages her nest better. Sometimes, Allie acts as if she would really rather be somewhere else!!! I hold my breath every day, hoping that both chicks in Allie’s nest will be there tomorrow. This is my first year watching these nests and I thank all of you who have helped me educate me about ospreys. I have been a long-standing contributor to the Nature Conservancy and congratulate you on the good work you are doing.

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Thank you Lavada! It’s a pleasure watching the cam & we’re learning from all of your observations.

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Ok-the cam is back-yea!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I just witnessed Allie chasing Bama out of the nest. She had already finished feeding the chicks when he flew in. She yammered at him and he look apprehensive. Then she fluffed out her feathers and made a move toward him and he flew off. I can’t understand why she would do this after he had brought them a nice big fish. Has anyone else seen disagreements like this?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, I saw something similar in Josie & Elbert’s nest. Here’s Matt Pelikan’s explanation for why this happens: “hard to say what is going on here, but the relationship between members of an Osprey pair can be almost as complicated as a human partnership! Males may bring food to a female partly in the hope that she’ll be willing to mate with him. And a female who is well fed, and feels that her chicks are well fed, may simply not be interested in having another osprey around. So in chasing Bama away, Allie is probably expressing something along the lines of “No, I don’t feel like mating, and we don’t need food right now. So get out of my way until I need you again!” Human males go to the hardware store to shop for power tools at times like this. I don’t know what male Ospreys do!”

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Hi Lisa-thanks. Really enjoy all the info. Just got online-
    Josie was feeding the chicks some fish.
    One of the last bites she gave included a piece of fin-several inches long-the chick downed it in one gulp with a couple of coughs-very interesting. One of the other chicks was not eating-but practicing wing flapping with a few hops off the nest-those are some wings! When the cam cycles-seems like it’s taking a longer time to come back on-the screen stays dark a long time. Anyone else noticing this?

  •  Comment from Linda Oliver

    I happened to witness Josie putting her wing over one of the chicks that was to close to the left edge of the nest. A little later she flew off and came back with a big twig that she put into the left side of the nest. I also saw her move a twig from the other side to build up that “dangerous” left side. I thought it was very maternal of her to try to keep her chicks from falling out of the nest. It truly is fascinating to watch her.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      I’ve seen the chicks try to move the twigs a couple times now too. I’m not sure if they think it’s food, they’re imitating their mom, or they’re interested in re-arranging the nest. I’ll see what Matt Pelikan can tell us about nest building dynamics.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Matt said that he thought that the examples of Josie guarding her chicks is “an example of the kind of intimate insight nest cams give us into the lives of birdsIsn’t it nice to know that a mother osprey is so attentive?” And,”About chewing on twigs – never heard of that, but I could imagine it either being an indication that they’re hungry or an exercise to build up their jaw muscles.”

        •  Comment from Lavada

          I get the impression that both mother and chicks are cleaning their beaks after eating by rubbing them on the twigs and branches. I, for one, can’t believe how much I have learned about these wonderful birds since I began watching last month! I check the comments every day and thank all of you for your knowledge and input, too.

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Hi Lavada, That sounds like a good possibility – I could see how a twig could help them clean any excess scales off of their beaks.

  •  Comment from Penny Pane

    Fist time viewing this. Its’ quite a sight. Very cool to see. I only see 2 chicks now though. Maybe number three is hiding.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Thank you Penny! I’m slightly concerned because I’ve only seen the heads of two chicks today. But, I’m hopeful because I think I see enough feathers that there must be a third still there, with his/her head down, nestling behind the other two. I’ll update if I catch clear sight of all three.

      •  Comment from Loralee

        Definitely three chicks, Lisa!! I see them all watching mom put new padding in the nest!! :-)

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Thank you Loralee – that is a relief! :)

  •  Comment from Beverly Morgan

    Is that a book in the nest? Did anyone see it brought in? It wasn’t there this morning!

  •  Comment from Beverly Morgan

    Never Mind… I think it’s a cross-arm! Don’t know why I hadn’t seen it earlier. And yes, I feel stupid.

  •  Comment from Aggie Wendling

    Hi, What a beautiful piece of nature to enjoy. I have enjoyed it so much, being brought closer to a beautiful piece of nature. Thank you so much for a very fine job getting the pictures of those birds. Aggie

  •  Comment from Beverly Morgan

    Has anyone seen the other parent? I haven’t and I’m worried as I haven’t seen them eat today. Bev

  •  Comment from Nancy

    Is there any chance that this site,in the future, will have microphones up there with the webcam? I would love to hear what they are saying. Thanks for my daily pastime. So enjoying this!

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Hi Lisa and Matt! His comment on how far the parents range for food is also what I was thinking. Interesting about the female chasing off the male and funny! Yesterday when I came online-Josie was on the far side of the nest really going after a fish-the chicks were huddled together on the other side of the nest-looking but not approaching her. They did not move toward her for a long time. Finally-when she was almost finished-one of the chicks eased over and she gave it a tidbit. then a 2nd chick eased over for a bite. The 3rd-I think maybe Winken-the biggest was not interested. She must have been really hungry! Josie indeed does have quite a wing spread and can still shelter all the chicks at one time. The wind has changed direction and the “poo” missles have been zinging past the cam-but when Josie or a chick gets into position-I actually duck! Josie is leaving the nest more often now-a short time ago-the chicks were alone-2 lounging on a side of the nest-the 3d-again “Winken’ I think was doing some major wing flapping practice and seemed quite pleased with his efforts. Yesterday again-while I was watching the chicks eating-2 of them started pecking at one another and flapping their wings at each other;the 3rd was totally unruffled-not even moving when one the flapping wings landed on its head. This only lasted a minute or so-then they all settled down. I have seen very little of this type of “fussing”-thankfully al 3 chicks seem to be getting a good share of food. Looks like Josie is losing weight-am sure Elbert must be too-very hard,tiring work finding so much food for their babes. Thanks Matt for all your insight and comments-you have quite a sense of humor! thanks to everyone for all their obversations and comments!

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Heavy rain,stout wind,moving thru. White caps on the bay-big lightning flashing. Josie is hunkered down in the middle of the nest-the chicks huddled around. Wind is moving the nest-or maybe just the cam-can’t tell for sure-looks like the nest is moving-trees in background are moving too. Going to lose daylight shortly-hope they have a safe nite..
    `

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Still raining-but looks like the wind has slowed down a lot.
    Can see outline of Josie-still hunkered down in the middle.
    Can just barely see outline of 1 chick on her left side. The other 2 must be on her right side. She gives a shake of her feathers every couple minutes. Pretty miserable nite for them. Hope the rain stops soon.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Bama was evidently late with the fish this morning, so Allie went out and got one herself. She was already feeding the chicks when he came in with another fish. When he saw that she had one, he left with his. I wish he had left it because the resident bully ate most of the fish and even after it couldn’t eat any more, it still intimidated the smaller chick and I was afraid it might be pushed over the side.

    •  Comment from Loralee

      Lavada…the larger chick is downright mean to the smaller, he was doing the same thing last night…peck, peck, peck every time she got close to the food!! I feel sorry for that little one!! I call them Chachi and Joanie since they don’t have official names!! Chachi is a bully!!

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Loralee, I’m so glad I’m not the only one sympathizing with that poor little thing. I know we’ve been told it is the survival of the fittest, but it’s a little hard to watch sometimes. It would be nice if the bully could be transplanted in Josie’s nest for a day or two with those 3 big lugs!!!

  •  Comment from Linda Thompson

    Think I see all 3 chicks-yea! Josie is perched on the side of the nest-calling loudly for Elbert. Does he roost somewhere close by? Does he ever stay in the nest over nite?
    Just saw another bird fly by in the background-Josie called out-might be Elbert.
    Chicks starting to move a little-but still huddled together.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Linda, that’s a good question and a tough one, here’s Matt’s response: “I was able to find some archival night-time footage from another osprey cam that definitely showed only one adult in the nest. And a helpful blog post by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, by an author who evidently suffers from insomnia, remarks that at night, “the male is usually absent from the nest but he will remain in close proximity in order to protect it – usually perched on a nearby branch or tree.” This sounds right to me: as some observers have noted, female ospreys often doesn’t want the males around unless they’re doing something useful, like delivering food. So at night, when a male’s presence in the nest would simply increase the crowding and raise the odds of a chick getting perforated with talon or pushed out of the nest, it seems unlikely that a female would tolerate his presence. Yet the male considers defending the nest to be part of his job, so he probably roosts nearby in case a predator approaches the nest.”

      Here is a link to the FAQ of the Scottish Wildlife Trust: http://blogs.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/osprey/osprey-faqs/

      •  Comment from Linda Thompson

        Thanks Lisa and Matt. The male roosting close by sounds
        logical. And being in close quarters with those lethal talons-even the babes have large talons now and they are not really coordinated. Have some questions about the nest.
        I can see the trees in back of the nest:are there trees on the other side as well? What is the nest resting on-and what is that thing sticking up-looks like part of a concrete pylon?

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Hi Linda, I’ll try to find out who I can contact to find out more about the location. Matt Pelikan & I are both located in the NE. I do know that the nest is on a specially built platform and the thing that looks like a pylon is part of the construction. Here is the Peregrine Fund’s information on building an osprey platform: http://www.peregrinefund.org/nest-structures-osprey

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            I contacted the City of Orange Beach, AL (the city actually sets up the camera and handles the technical side). Larry Ellis says,”The camera is facing west and there are trees and residences about 200 ft. away…fairly open in between that with some small trees. Looking north is Wolf Bay. Looking back east (behind the camera) are trees and more residences. Southward are some trees and the city public library. The birds usually come to and leave from the nest from the north or the west.”

          •  Comment from Linda Thompson

            Thanks for the info on the nest site and what is around them. Houses are pretty close to the nest. One day there was someone on a John Deere tractor below on the ground over by the shoreline to the right of the nest.
            So that really is a pylon-must be pretty large platform-wonder if the birds observe the building and then wait for their chance to move in and start on their nest.
            Short time ago-Josie was feeding the chicks two of them moved away from her-then Elbert must have flown by overhead-their heads moved in unison following him. it is really going to fun when they really try to fly.

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Lisa, the shadows from the trees seem to indicate that the sun is coming up on the right hand side of the picture, so I think the camera must be facing north. I checked a map of Orange Beach and Wilson Ave. runs north and south.

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            It could be, maybe it’s more of a Northwest and the people there were simplifying in the description?

  •  Comment from Emily Ginder

    Had to laugh today. Josie was sitting on top of the offspring in order to protect them from the sun.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Now that the offspring are getting close to flying, I’ve been wondering when they start eating the fish themselves without being fed by the mother. They probably need food oftener now that they are growing so fast. Josie’s chicks are so big, getting airborne is going to be difficult! Allie’s oldest is doing a lot of wing-flapping and jumping up and down and doesn’t seem as belligerent now toward its sibling. I enjoy watching the dynamics of each nest every day. It’s much better than a soap opera!!!

    •  Comment from Gerry Ciotti

      I started watching the Orange Beach cam late last summer and the chicks were still in the nest. It wasn’t until nearly fall I think that they started to fly. Obviously I don’t watch all the time, so if they took short flights before that I didn’t notice. I hope someone else answers as they are getting really big! So neat to watch.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Hi Lavada & Gerry, here’s Matt’s response on how/when osprey learn to fish, “that’s another interesting question. Part of the answer is that the ability to learn to fish varies among young ospreys, just like the ability to learn tennis varies among humans. The difference, of course, is that fishing is a vital skill for ospreys, and young birds that have not learned to fish by the time their parents leave the nest area or begin ignoring their young won’t survive. In a nest with multiple chicks ,then, you can expect to see them acquire this vital skill at somewhat different rates, with some young birds never getting the hang of it. (Also, keep in mind that since osprey hatch in the order in which eggs are laid, the age of the chicks might vary by a week or two.)

        Some observers have reported adult ospreys training their young to fish, for example by dropping a dead or incapacitated fish into the water for the young bird to practice diving for. And it appears that ospreys can learn some of the necessary skill simply from watching and imitating adults or older siblings. But ospreys raised in captivity, with no adults to learn from, also seem to be able to learn to fish, so the skill must be at least partly innate. Other observers have reported seeing young ospreys experimenting with “beginner’s” fishing techniques, for instance flying low over the water and trailing their talons, perhaps in the hope of snagging a fish. Youngsters may also start out hunting from a perch overlooking a body of water, before attempting the more difficult task of hunting from the air. Once the youngsters are getting confident in the air, you can expect them to spend less and less time at the nest, and (if you’re on-site rather than relying on a nest-cam) you’ll see them start to exhibit “play” or partial attempts at fishing that are the first steps in acquiring the ability to feed themselves. It may be weeks, though, before a youngster nails a fish all on its own.

        The more capable birds should be hunting pretty successfully within six to eight weeks after they fledge. (In migratory populations, that would be about when the adults disperse to begin migration, leaving their offspring to migrate on their own, guided by instinct, somewhat later in the season.) Once they’re hunting successfully, youngsters may or may not bring their prey back to the nest to eat it (if I were a young osprey, I’d eat my fish in secret, because I’d expect my siblings to try to steal it from me). So the process of learning may prove to be one that’s hard to monitor via the nest-cam.”

        •  Comment from Lavada

          Thanks, Lisa and Matt, for the info. I assume then that as long asthe fish is brought to the nest, the mother will distribute it instead of the youngsters tearing into it themselves. I have also noticed the mothers are going fishing more often now. One day Allie came in with a fish and about ten minutes later Bama brought one in. He surveyed the scene and promptly took off with his. Allie appeared a bit put out, especially after her fish had been eaten!

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Hi Lavada, Here’s Matt’s take on this, “It’s a hard question, and I’ve never seen nor read anything that would let me give a solid answer. Perhaps the mother bird would act as if it were her mate bringing the fish, meaning she’d try to take it and divide it. But the youngster, unlike the adult male, would not have a pair bond to influence its behavior, and would very likely object to having its fish taken away. I doubt that the youngster would bring a fish back to the nest in the first place – but if one did, my prediction is that there would be a fight over the fish, probably ending with the youngster flying away with its prey to eat somewhere with a little privacy! There really does not seem to be much cooperation at all among siblings, so I wouldn’t expect one older chick to help feed the younger ones.”

            He also sent along some links!:
            Some great videos of feeding and even fledging behavior here, for your edification and delight:

            http://www.arkive.org/osprey/pandion-haliaetus/video-09d.html

            A guy named Rob Bierregaard has been radiotagging migratory ospreys for years now, and has a terrific website that includes that tracks of a number of different birds as they get ready to migrate, make the journey, settle into their winter territory, and head back north.

            http://www.bioweb.uncc.edu/bierregaard/migration1.htm

  •  Comment from Loralee

    So relieved that Allie’s littlest, I call her Joanie, is getting lot’s to eat this morning….last night, she didn’t get any of the fish, I felt so sorry that she went to bed hungry!! I’m a sucker for these little ones!!

  •  Comment from Yvonne

    Wow! Haven’t checked on Wynken, Blynken and Nod for over a week. Those guys are really growing and active now.

  •  Comment from Emily Ginder

    When is the first flights expected to occur?

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Emily, See June 3rd comments above for more detail. Here’s a quick summary – around July 4th the chicks will be more or less fully fledged and start leaving the nest, but they will hang around the nest area perfecting their flying and fishing skills for the rest of the season.

      •  Comment from Emily Ginder

        Thanks. I thought it was sooner than that. Are the Orange Beach ospreys on an earlier schedule?

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Hi Emily, both nests are in different parts of Orange beach, so they should be on similar schedules, but we’re not sure of the exact date that the first egg was laid in either nest, so it could be that the timing will be slightly different. July 4th is coming up soon!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    OH-OH!!! Somebody in Josie’s nest has fouled the camera again. I guess we have to pray for rain if we want to watch the upcoming flights!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Prayers were answered yesterday and the cameras were clean. There was a lot of very serious wing-flapping in Allie’s nest by both chicks, and at least one of them may be the first to fly. But this morning someone in that nest was careless and things are a bit blurry. Maybe we can hope for another shower??

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Lisa — thank you for the fantastic migration website. After seeing how many died on these trips, I’m glad “our” birds don’t have to travel as far as the ones from New England. I have been reading everything I can find about ospreys. Watching them has been both enjoyable and educational. My thanks to all who have made this possible.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    P.S. to my last post. A big thank you, too, to Matt for the Osprey (and other birds) link. I’m feasting on all this information, and watch the nests every day. I read that sometimes the mother bird withholds food or gives only a little just before fledging so that the youngsters will be lighter when they venture out of the nest. This seems to be happening in Allie’s nest. Her oldest is extremely active and I’m betting that he will be the first to fly. Josie, on the other hand, is still feeding her bunch with some pretty large fish. I guess it remains to be seen which is better, lighter and spryer or heavier and stronger.

    •  Comment from Linda Oliver

      Thanks for mentioning that Lavada because I saw both of Allie’s birds waiting by themselves for most of the day. The large one was hopping and flapping but the littler one is not quite ready. I’m glad to see Allie feeding her now because she’s not as developed and still needs some help.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Thank you Lavada and Linda! It is amazing how they’ve grown and it’s exciting to think that they will be flying soon. That’s cool information about how the mothers try to make sure that they are lighter for their first flight – a great adaptation. It’s probably frustrating for the chicks, but osprey mothers know best :)

        •  Comment from Lavada

          I’ve also noticed, lately, that Allie feeds Joanie, the younger one, first and Chachi seems to understand. He stands back and waits now, whereas he used to be a bully and insist on getting his fill – sometimes the biggest part of the fish.

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Hi Lavada, I mentioned this to Matt and he said, “on reflection…adult ospreys tailor the size of food chunks to age and size of their young. The big guy is undoubtedly getting large chunks of fish now, probably close to what s/he will be eating as an adult. I bet they take much longer to digest than the little tidbits a younger chick gets = getting hungry less often.”

  •  Comment from James R. Smith

    Been watching the Osprey offspring since they were a couple days old … the first day I’ve seen two of the three start feeding themselves, one in particular, with the fish Josie has provided … in fact he bristles when one of the other chicks get to close … they have really grown!!!!

  •  Comment from James R. Smith

    corrected URL

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Since no one but Loralee has come up with names for Allie and Bama’s offspring, I suggest that we officially agree to call them Chachi and Joanie. They can’t go through life nameless!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Seeing no objections, I agree, we have Joanie & Chachi in Allie & Bama’s nest and Wynken, Blynken & Nod in Josie & Elbert’s nest.

      •  Comment from Loralee

        Awww…I love you guys!!! Thank you, so humbled and happy!! Now..if only Chachi loved Joanie!! :-) He’s getting less aggressive, thank the Lord!!

        •  Comment from Lavada

          You deserve the credit, Loralee! And I think Chachi loves Joanie –just like every guy loves (and lords it over) his sister! He likes showing off for her and she is duly impressed. And, in my opinion, he could show the three big lunks in Josie’s nest a thing or two about flight training.

          •  Comment from Loralee

            hahaha!! Lavada!! Agreed! :-) Have a great day!

  •  Comment from Bonnie Murphy

    I am in AZ. After about 9 pm last night, the picture hasn’t worked on the nest with 3 chicks. I had watched them during a storm–rain/sleet/snow??? Hard to tell but it looked like white ‘stuff’ landed on their backs and then melted. Then the picture stopped coming. I am guessing the storm took out the camera?? Are they OK?? Many thanks. Sure have enjoyed watching the nest for the past couple of months.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Bonnie, I haven’t been able to get a good count since the camera got messy again. All of the chicks were large and healthy so I think there’s a good chance they made it through. Has anyone else managed to count Jose & Elbert’s chicks lately?

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Lisa and Bonnie, I think there are still 3 chicks in Josie’s nest. Tonight I saw two flapping their wings in the back of the nest and a slight movement on the left side. Although they are bigger, it doesn’t seem they are as active as Allie’s two. But there definitely seems to be more wing-flapping now than there was before the camera foul-up. Besides, if the poop keeps building up, we know they are there!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I hope some of you were watching Allie’s nest this evening about 8:00 EDT. Chachi was a sight to behold! He was flying from one side of the nest to the other and at one point he soared straight up out of sight. I thought he had gone, but he came back down into the nest. He did that twice. And Allie is watching all this. He’s very hyper now and I think he will probably solo sometime in the next day or two. I’m wondering if she flies with him or if he will leave the nest when she is not there.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Lavada, That is very exciting news! I hope we get some rain to clear the other camera so that we can see first flights for all of the chicks. I’m checking with Matt Pelikan to see if mothers play any role in first flights.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        Matt says, “The one time I feel sure I saw a very first flight, the mother totally ignored what was happening, and then just moved over to make room when the fledgling returned to the nest. But it’s always risky to generalize from a sample size of one, and I have no idea if that’s how it typically goes.”

        He suggested that we crowd source this! Please, if you see one of the chicks flying, try to see what the mother is doing (if she’s around) and post your observations in the comments.

        •  Comment from Lavada

          Lisa, I will certainly let you know if I see him take off. I am neglecting all my chores now to watch because I don’t want to miss it. He is pretty active right now in spite of the heat, and he and Joanie are both pretty active in the evening. This is SO exciting!!!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    P.S. to Lisa — The fouled camera is really disappointing and I’ve been checking the Orange Beach weather and it doesn’t look like much rain until maybe next Sunday. I have a suggestion for the camera for next year. Either put it back further with a zoom lens (which is quite impractical), or raise it several feet and angle the camera down into the nest. This seems to be the way the Chesapeake Conservancy has the camera for Tom and Audrey.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      I was thinking the same thing about the camera – I will send the city a suggestion and hope that they can adjust it after the nesting season is over.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I’m observing some pretty interesting activity in Allie’s nest right now. She arrived without a fish and Chachi was very belligerent toward her. Within minutes, Bama dropped in with a fish and Allie, Chachi and Joanie all converged on it. Chachi won and now his mother is facing away from him in a submissive attitude, and Joanie has retreated, too. Now Chachi has the fish, but is not very adept at tearing into it.

  •  Comment from Jill Staples

    Josie and Albert’s chicks are practicing flying from one edge of the nest to the other… this could be the day!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    At about 9:05 EDT Chachi flew out of the nest and onto the perch which is above and left. He is still standing there and Joanie is all excited and flapping her wings like mad. Allie is not around. I’ll keep watching and let you know if Chachi leaves the perch or returns to the nest.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Chachi just came back into the nest. He almost fell off the perch when he either tried to turn around or a gust of wind blew him off balance. He used his wings headed for the nest. He is now lying down — with heart palpitations?? It will be interesting to see if he tries the perch again.

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Thank you all for of the observations! Keep them coming :)

    This is an exciting time I think I saw a moment of lift-off for one of Josie & Elbert’s chicks, but haven’t seen them leave the nest yet.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Yesterday’s flight was very short, but this morning was fantastically different. When I turned on my computer Chachi and Joanie were the only ones in the nest. Within two minutes Chachi took off from the north side of the nest, flew toward the green lawn, then swerved and went north over Wilson and took a right turn past the trees toward Wolf Bay. It was so thrilling — he looked like he had been flying forever! Now Allie and both kids are in the nest having breakfast (fish tacos???). Now I think Joanie will be very anxious to get her wings. I wish we could see how Josie’s family is progressing.

      •  Comment from Loralee

        Love this account of Chachi’s first flight!! Thank you, Lavada!!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    4:25 EDT Chachi just soloed. Allie was not in the nest. I don’t know if he meant to do it but he got up pretty high into the wind and off he went. I hope he gets back to the nest tonight!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    He made it back. I couldn’t see his flight path, but could see Joanie’s head turning, so I knew he was away from the area where he took off. Wow!

    •  Comment from Loralee

      So disappointed to have missed it!! That is just awesome, Lavada!! :-)

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Hi Loralee — it was a thrill, but see my comment above to Judy about his flight this morning.

      •  Comment from Lavada

        P.S. I meant my comment to LISA. I’m rather addled this morning! Poor little Joanie was all alone in the nest for a while, but Allie is there now, feeding her.

        •  Comment from Loralee

          One is the lonliest number!! Poor little Joanie.

  •  Comment from Rachel

    10:15 am: Just saw one of the chicks in Allie & Bama’s nest take flight! Both Allie and the other chick watched the skies as the one was flying around them. So cool!

  •  Comment from Linda Oliver

    Just wanted to mention that I haven’t seen Chachi in the nest for more than an hour and Allie has been looking for him. Maybe he is in a tree somewhere?

    •  Comment from Loralee

      He hasn’t come back, wondering if he got lost? Scary…I doubt he can find his own food, just hoping he’ll return soon.

      •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

        I’m watching for him now too. I hope that we see him soon – I see Joanie looking around and wonder if she is watching him or something else.

        •  Comment from Loralee

          He just landed, briefly, Lisa!! Thank the Lord!! Now he’s flying around, torturing his sister!! :-)

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Chachi just landed – I guess he was enjoying his new found freedom :)

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      And an instant later he took off again – like a teenager who just got a drivers license.

      •  Comment from Loralee

        hahaha!! We’re typing at the same time! Happy you saw him, too!

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          :)

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Your likening Chachi to a teenager with a new driver’s license is so funny – and apropos! I wish Joanie was showing more of that kind of activity. I am beginning to worry about her. She’s in the nest alone now with a large fish, but has taken only a few half-hearted bites. And when she flaps her wings and tries to jump from one side of the nest to the other, it isn’t with the same vigor.

        •  Comment from Loralee

          This is the hard part, Lavada!! Last year, I worried about little Aubrie for weeks, she never showed interest in flying, sat alone in the nest waiting for Allie or Bama to bring her food…sad!! They finally shut down the web cam, I was so sick with worry for that little one!! Hoping that Joanie will discover the fun of flying and fishing very soon!!

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Oh, Loralee, I’m so afraid of what may be happening. From the very beginning Chachi showed all the elements of being a survivor, but Joanie didn’t seem to be in the same league. I wish she would exercise her wings and get strong enough to fly out of there. Do you think the camera was shut down because they knew what was happening to Aubrie and wanted to spare everyone watching?

          •  Comment from Lavada

            There’s hope after all! This morning Joanie was doing quite a bit of vigorous flapping and even jumped from one side of the nest to the other. All she needs is to build up her strength – and her desire to soar!!!

          •  Comment from Linda Oliver

            I also saw Joanie flapping and jumping from side to side yesterday evening. At one point she did rise up from the nest just a little bit too. I don’t know how much she should be practicing, but at least she is showing some interest in flying.

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Joanie seems to need a little encouragement. Chachi dropped in around noon today, for lunch, I suppose. When Allie didn’t come with the food, he started flying around, buzzing the nest, and even sat on the top of the camera. You could see his shadow. He finally left and Joanie started the most vigorous flapping and jumping I’ve ever seen her do. She also raised up above the nest two or three times – never clear out of sight, but I think she is getting there. I was really worried about her for a while, but I think she will make it now and be flying in the near future.

          •  Comment from Loralee

            Lavada…I’ve been watching on and off over the weekend, during the week I sit in front of the computer, which makes it much easier. I’m so happy to hear that little Joanie is making an attempt…keeping my fingers crossed, we get so attached by watching their lives unfold…It seems a blessing and a curse. xoxo
            Loralee

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Hi Loralee and Lisa and everyone! I’ve been watching Allie’s nest this morning and it seemed like she and Joanie were guarding it against the bird who was harassing them yesterday. Allie left about noon, maybe to hunt for lunch, and since she’s been gone Joanie has been doing quite a bit of practicing. At one point she soared straight up out of sight and I could see her shadow on the nest — flapping her wings like mad! That gal is ready to fly, I’m sure. I just wish she could get up enough nerve to take off!

        •  Comment from Lavada

          I’m not really worried about Joanie now. I checked on her a few minutes ago and Allie was in the nest with her. Joanie flapped her wings a few times, as if to show Allie that she is getting stronger. Then she started flapping them and kept it up for a long time, until I finally started counting the flaps. I counted 18 before she stopped so, in all, she must have flapped them at least 25 or 30 times. That’s great. I wouldn’t be surprised if she flew out of that nest before the end of the week. Thank you for worrying along with me!!! Now let’s just wish her bon voyage.

          •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

            Thank you all for the comments about Joanie’s progress. I’ve been anxious about her too, but I’m excited to hear and see her practicing more!

  •  Comment from Linda Oliver

    Now Joanie has been alone for about an hour, so waiting for Allie or Bama to come back with Chachi (hopefully). I just knew he couldn’t wait to leave the nest!

  •  Comment from Linda Oliver

    I see I missed him coming back but I figured he knew how to find the nest. It must be the highest thing around in that area. Maybe being alone will inspire Joanie to try flying too.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Being retired, I must have more time to watch these nests. So I will give you all the run-down on what I observed today. Josie’s nest is difficult because of the poop build-up, but I have observed 3 inhabitants that flap their wings on occasion. I keep hoping that they will get a wind-driven rain that will clean the camera. This morning I observed Chachi take a long flight probably toward Wolf Bay. So far, Allie has not been there in the nest when he left. He has come back to the nest several times during the day — for food, no doubt. However, he has turned back into Godzilla again and fights everyone for the food. This afternoon, Allie and Joanie were alone, with Allie calling. Before long, Bama dropped in with a fish and, instantly, Chachi flew in right behind him. There was chaos in the nest while Allie and Chachi tried to take the fish from Bama. Godzilla won and Bama hurriedly quit the premises. Allie and Joanie retreated to the opposite side and watched while Chachi stuffed himself. When I tuned in this evening he was waiting with Joanie; and now I see that Allie is feeding both of them. Need I say that I am enjoying every minute of this!!!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Matt’s words in response to Chachi’s godzilla episode “the observation on the family interaction around the arriving fish is classic, just classic – a greedy free-for-all, with the hungriest or most aggressive individual getting most of the goodies!”

  •  Comment from Lavada

    I tuned into Josie’s nest early this morning. The early sun helped show the outlines better and I could see the activity there better. At least two birds were flapping their big wings, rising into the air, and coming back down into the nest like Chachi did. Another bird was standing in the foreground, but I couldn’t determine whether it was Josie or a chick. At any rate, at least two of them will be flying very soon.

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Lisa, I think at least one of Josie’s chicks is flying. The camera is still blurry, but I saw a bird land in the nest, and I don’t think it was Josie or Elbert. Then it took off again and landed on the housing above the camera. I could clearly see its wing tips in front of the camera, which makes me think that there is a glass plate between the camera and the nest — and that it is the glass plate that is fouled with poop. I don’t think it was Josie sitting up there. If she sits anywhere besides in the nest it is on the concrete thing between the nest and the bay. Did anyone else see this?

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Hi Lavada, I didn’t see the flight, but looking at the cam now, it looks like maybe 2 of them are gone at the moment! I think they must be flying :)

    •  Comment from Lavada

      From what I can see, I think you are right, and I know they come back to nest occasionally. The left side of the picture us very obscured, but once in a while I see some movement there. And today Allie has spent a lot of time in the nest with Joanie because for two days a bird has been harassing Joanie. I don’t know what kind it is — it looks like a mockingbird but seems bigger. It flicks its tail the way mockingbirds do. It was bolder this morning than yesterday and twice it slammed into Joanie when it passed. Even after Allie came, it kept coming at them. I haven’t seen that kind of behavior before. Does it happen sometimes? The osprey is a lot bigger, but maybe not as quick, but that bird is definitely asking for trouble. If Allie stays at home more now, perhaps we will get to see how she reacts when Joanie flies.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Hi Lisa, Joanie had a good day today. She is getting much stronger and this evening about 7:30 EDT, she was out of sight above the nest several times. Allie was in the nest — it was right after they had eaten. Allie flew off once, maybe hoping Joanie would follow, but she didn’t and Allie came back right away. That first flight is very near, I think.

  •  Comment from Marilyn

    I’ve been observing the nest with 3 chicks shortly after they hatched. I’m hopelessly addicted I have just recently read the blogs. When the first chick started lifting off of the nest I held my breath, but 1 made a comment to my husband that the mom turned her head away and seemed to purposely act like she didn’t notice. Maybe she didn’t want to distract him/her from their first flight by reacting to the amazing feat. I’m concerned about the third chick that doesn’t seem to want to venture from the nest. Because of the dirty lens I can’t tell if the mom is getting him/her fed. Hope the rains come soon and we get to see how all this plays out.

    I have not seen the other nest. Is that where the mockingbird is pestering Joanie?

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Hi Lavada and Marilyn, That’s interesting about Josie looking away – that’s similar to what Matt saw in the past. I hope that we do get the right kind of rain to clear the lens so that we can see more. About the bird harassing Joanie & even Allie – How strange! I would think it would fear for its life. I’ll check with Matt to see if he’s ever heard of anything like this.

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Apparently the mockingbird interaction isn’t as strange as I would have thought, Matt says “About the bird that’s pestering Allie and Joanie – mockingbird is a good guess based both on the limited description the observer provided and the fact that mocking are territorial and pugnacious little devils. Ordinarily, other birds tolerate ospreys much better than they tolerate other hawks – either by instinct or experience, songbirds generally seem to know that ospreys eat fish and aren’t a threat to smaller birds. But obviously this mockingbird, loaded up on hormones and perhaps with a set of young of its own to protect, didn’t get the memo! My guess is that the ospreys find it mildly annoying but don’t much care, and are unlikely to try to defend themselves against the mockingbird.”

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Joanie is lifting off from the nest…can not wait to see her fly!! Good times ahead, fellow enthusiasts!! :-)

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Matt’s general take on what we’ve seen with maternal osprey reactions so far, “taken together, the observations suggest to me that adults may make some effort to encourage young to try flying, but that they tend to have pretty limited interest in the whole fledging process. I imagine by this point, and adult females are in the state of a human female with triplets who are just about old enough to start school: just get ‘em out of here so I can finally take a nap…”
    Keep the observations coming – we’re interested in more evidence.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Lisa and Loralee — I was hoping you both were watching Joanie this afternoon. Allie was with her most of the morning and Joanie acted like she didn’t want Allie to see her practice at all. After lunch and Allie had left, Joanie went into the best performance I’ve seen so far. There was a very stiff wind and once she lifted off so high, and was gone so long I yelled to my husband, “She gone — she’s flying!” Then she came back down into the nest. Chachi came back for a while, too, and seemed to be encouraging her. She has been eyeing that perch to the left of the nest, but just can’t seem to get up enough nerve to try to get there. The same goes for taking the plunge off the nest. She just has to get her wings soon or I won’t get a thing done around this house!

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Lisa, I think Matt has the maternal osprey pegged pretty good. I had to laugh today when Allie brought in a very fresh large fish, and Chachi wasn’t there to grab it. The fish resisted violently and Allie looked like she was riding a bronco for a while. She fed Joanie until she was full, then she ate until she was full, and then just sat there a long while with half a fish in her claw. I think she actually went to sleep. Chachi didn’t show and Joanie had retreated to the other side of the nest. Allie finally dragged the fish over to her and I can imagine she told Joanie, “You have to help me eat this darned thing!”

  •  Comment from Marilyn

    Next year can we put the last blog post at the top. Already thinking about next year so I can do this all over again. Lol:)

  •  Comment from Lavada

    10 AM EDT JOANIE HAS HER WINGS!!!!

  •  Comment from Jill Staples

    All are out of Josie and Albert’s nest!

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      So excited that everyone is flying! What a successful year. I feel a little bit like a proud parent.

      •  Comment from Lavada

        You should feel like that. You and Matt have done a wonderful job answering all our questions and educating us in the ways of the osprey. You can be assured we will be watching their ongoing development and the new families again next year. I am still closely watching Joanie because I want to see her winging her way around the corner toward the bay.

  •  Comment from Kerry Jacobson

    My brother recommended I might like this website.
    He was totally right. This post truly made my day.
    You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Did anyone see Joanie flying today? When I logged on this morning, the nest was empty and I was disappointed I didn’t see her leave. I had some appointments and when I got back this afternoon, she was in the nest. Since then, it has been raining on her and a strong wind blowing. At present, she is lying down in the nest. I checked Josie’s nest, but whatever rain they had, it didn’t help the camera much.

  •  Comment from Lynne Fieber

    Joanie indeed “flew” (disappeared from the nest for a few minutes after levitating straight into the air, but she may have gone only so far as just out of camera range) at 10 am today. Since she returned, I believe she has been in the nest full time.

  •  Comment from Eunice

    Joanie was flying from one side of her nest to the other and intermittently flying up a few feet and then back down into the nest. About 9am Houston time, she flew up to the nest’s superstructure and perched there until Allie came bearing lunch at 10:30. At that point I had to leave, so if she did major flying, I did not see it.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Thanks Lynne and Eunice. I was in a hurry this morning and didn’t have time to wait around for Joanie to come back – or come back down! She probably was on that perch to the left of the nest. I looked there but didn’t see her. She may have been just out of sight. I know that she has been eying that perch for several days, but didn’t have the courage to go for it. She seems the same way about taking the plunge off the nest — just can’t get up her nerve. I guess we have to be patient until she thinks she’s ready.

      •  Comment from Linda Oliver

        I was worried when I saw Joanie in the rain yesterday and afraid to leave the nest. When I looked today, the nest was finally empty. I’m so proud of her and I think that Allie was very patient with her. This has been really great to see how the birds have distinct personalities just like people. I hope all the fledglings in both nests are successful adults.

        •  Comment from Lavada

          Linda, I don’t think she is gone. She spent a lot of time this morning on that perch at the left of the screen. When she was on the end you can’t see her I would think she had gone, but then she would move over or would flap her wings and I could see that she was still there. She came down into the nest and I watched her until I went to the kitchen for some lunch just before 1 p.m. (New Orleans time). In a few minutes I looked at the computer again and she was gone. Now Chachi is in the nest and she is on the perch out of sight, but stretches her wings once in a while. She is really playing us, isn’t she? I want to see her actually take off from that nest and keep going!!!

          •  Comment from Loralee

            Our little girl is all grown up…hoping that she will become a strong fishergirl!! xx

        •  Comment from Lavada

          P.S. Linda and Loralee. Yes Joanie was up on the perch when we thought she was gone. She just flew down into the nest, flapped her wings a few times and immediately went back up on the perch again. What’s with her? She seems strong enough to fly, but doesn’t want to leave the nest. I won’t believe she’s gone now until I actually see her take off from the side of the nest and fly away. If she doesn’t leave soon, she’s going to be an old maid!

  •  Comment from Lavada

    Hey Lisa, Loralee, Linda and all the others! Good news today. I finally saw it with my own eyes, no doubt about it. Joanie took off from her perch and FLEW down the street and around the corner toward Wolf Bay!!! I was beginning to think she would spend the rest of her life in that nest or on the perch. I can now catch up on my housework and laundry! I will check in on them now and then for the rest of the summer. Thank you, Lisa, Matt, and all the others who have contributed to this very interesting educational experience.

    •  Comment from Loralee

      Happy!! Thanks, Lavada!!

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Do you feel like an empty-nester now, Loralee? You watch them eat breakfast and then they head off to fishing school!

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          Huzzah for Joanie! Thank you all for all of your comments!

    •  Comment from Linda Oliver

      I happened to check after midnight last night and both Joanie and Chachi were spending the night at the nest. One was perched on the edge of the nest and the other was on the perch. I guess they don’t quite know where to spend the night yet, but I thought it was cute that they were together. They are still brother and sister after all!

  •  Comment from Lynne

    Lavada, thanks so much for that definitive update. I never saw Allie yesterday at all, thinking that maybe she was giving Joanie some tough love (i.e., no food til you fly kind of deal). Whatever the motivation, I am so happy to know that Joanie is on the wing. This was a spectacular season!

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Lynne, I had the same idea about tough love. I wondered if Allie told Joanie, ‘no more fish for you, girl, until you get off your perch and fly’. When I first started watching I nominated Josie as Mother of the Year because she was always tidying up the nest and sheltering the chicks from the sun or storms; but now I have to give Allie equal billing. She has come through in every aspect as knowing exactly what to do. There were times I wished she would give Chachi a thrashing when he was so disrespectful when she brought a fish, but she just waited until he had eaten a little, and then she took the fish away and fed both of them. I’ve decided that the osprey families are primarily matriarchal, with the males bringing the food at the beginning, but when the chicks get big, the mother does a great deal of the hunting. I can’t even begin to express how much I have enjoyed watching all this play out. And I’ve been amused the last two days at how tired Joanie looks when she comes back to the nest late in the afternoon. Yesterday she was actually sitting with her feet out in front of her (like me!), and today she had her head down with her eyes closed. Fishing school must be pretty tiring right now!

  •  Comment from Marilyn

    How do u tell the girl from the boy. I noticed that on the couple at wolf bay the male seems taller and trimmer. But can’t tell on the chicks

    •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

      Hi Marilyn,
      We can’t actually tell which chicks are girls and boys yet – ospreys of both sexes look very similar. In adult ospreys, the females tend to be darker and bigger than the males, but even with adults, the main way to tell them apart is nesting behavior – females stay with chicks in the nest until they are fledged and males bring fish, but don’t actually spend much time in the nest. Some of our names (Chachi and Joanie) imply gender, but those names are just for fun.

  •  Comment from Linda Oliver

    I am so excited because I got my first good look at Winken Blinken and Nod today because the screen is clear. They are so beautiful just like Joanie and Chachi! I have not seen either set of parents at the nest anymore, so possibly only the fledglngs go back. Hopefully they are all eating and learning to fish. This is my first year watching so it has been really wonderful.

    •  Comment from Loralee

      Hi Linda,
      Allie is still returning to the nest with fish for Joanie and Chachi, on occasion. This is the first day of visibility on this nest, so not sure of the happenings around here. I’m so impressed that everyone is flying, and like you, hoping that they are all learning to fish.

      •  Comment from Lavada

        Hi Loralee and Linda — I’ve been watching Josie’s nest more now that the camera is cleaner. One of the chicks has been in the nest for quite some time, evidently waiting for lunch. It just flew and is sitting on a branch in the tall tree in the background. I can’t tell any of the chicks in that nest apart now because the camera was blurry for so long and they all grew up! This one must be the youngest. Have you noticed a bunch of other birds have been scavenging in the nests since they are vacant a lot of the time? I don’t know what kind they are — they move too fast to get a good look at them.

        •  Comment from Loralee

          Lavada…I did see the three little birds in the nest, yesterday…cracked me up!! I was thinking of our babies when they were chicks! :-)

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Hi Loralee –Like our own “chicks”, they all grow up too fast, don’t they? Tonight I see Josie and two of hers in the nest, and this afternoon Joanie came back to the nest and squawked a lot trying to get Allie’s attention, but so far, Allie hasn’t shown up. I assume that at least the younger chicks haven’t learned to catch their own fish yet.

          •  Comment from Lavada

            There are still some interesting things taking place in Allie’s nest. This morning Chachi and Joanie were there when Allie brought a large fish and then left. Chachi latched onto it and started to eat while Joanie watched. Suddenly, he flew off with it! I watched him fly all the way toward the woods in the upper left corner of the screen. Joanie is still looking in that direction.

          •  Comment from Linda Oliver

            Hi Loralee and Lavada, (Did you ever notice we were all L’s – including Lisa?) Anyway, yes I have noticed Joanie waiting around for food and Chachi not wanting to share. I swear I saw him eating a fish the other day, then he can back with a second fish and looked for Joanie. It was headless, so I don’t know if it was given to him or what. When Joanie wasn’t there, Chachi picked up the fish and flew away with it. I just know he had brought it for her because he was already full. Too bad she missed it.

        •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

          I always seem to check in when the nest is empty :( I have caught a glimpse of a couple of the non-osprey birds hanging out or maybe grabbing twigs.

          I wish that Joanie would have been there for the fish that Chachi brought – it would have been very cool to see a sibling feeding a younger sibling.

          •  Comment from Loralee

            Yesterday, Joanie and Chachi were sharing a fish…not sure who brought it to the nest, one would eat for awhile, then the other would steal it, so funny!! I think they both got plenty to eat! Nice to see them eating well, getting along, etc.

          •  Comment from Lavada

            Hi all you other L’s! I wish I had seen Chachi sharing or feeding Joanie. I wonder if he is feeling guilty about flying away with the big fish yesterday morning while Joanie just looked on completely surprised – and hungry. She was back at the nest early in the afternoon squawking for Allie. She probably hadn’t eaten all day. Later, someone (Allie or Chachi?) finally brought a fish and she ate the whole thing. When she was almost finished, Chachi came and sat on the perch, but didn’t bother her at all.

  •  Comment from Marvin Hendricks

    I just found this site a couple of weeks ago and I must say that I get up to see them and go to bed with a last check. I really have enjoyed it. Last night I checked it several times and did not find anyone home but from down the street one came and landed on the perch to the left and spent the night there and at 6:30, awoke, turned around and took flight.
    Thanks to all for bringing this to us.

  •  Comment from Marilyn

    Linda thanks for explanation on girl boy. I also noticed the fish were always headless when they were brought to the nest. This has been an education. I feel like a new empty neater.

  •  Comment from Marvin

    She has been most vocal this morning and the brother finally brought her a 2/3 eaten fish and she eagerly ate it. That is the second time that he has done this that I have seen.

  •  Comment from Marvin

    Where do that adults spend the night???

  •  Comment from Marvin

    After eating the small piece that her brother brought her, she was still being vocal and one of the parents brought her a whole fish and she dived in.

  •  Comment from Marvin

    I was away for a minute and the brother may have taken the fish.

  •  Comment from Marvin

    Last night, one of the parents brought in a big fish and she eagerly tied into it. Brother showed up a few minutes later but she guarded it and he moved to perch. a few minutes later one of the parents brought in a smaller fish and he came down and latched on to it, then flew off with it. I knew that he would soon be back as his fish was smaller and when he showed up again, she protected her big fish and continued eating. It got dark on her and the fish was more than she could eat but brother stayed on perch until this morning and then he cam down and ate what she had left. They both were full last night.

    •  Comment from Linda Oliver

      Thanks for the info on the fish Marvin. I saw Joanie in the nest several times but never saw her eat. I did see them both sleeping there all night but was happy to hear they both got fish. I don’t know where the parents sleep either. Allie used to sleep with them but not anymore.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Hi Marvin, I can see you are now hooked on the drama taking place in this nest! Both Chachi and Joanie were evidently VERY hungry last night. Joanie was squawking non-stop and had her wings spread out in defensive mode – ready to grab any fish that came her way. Chachi showed up and she made it clear she didn’t want him around. He flew up on the perch and they both squawked a while. The she flew up and knocked him off the perch. That started a chase around the area for several minutes until she came back to claim the nest. It was then that their mother brought the big fish and Joanie grabbed it. She had a hard time eating it, though, – the gill covers were very tough and hard. But when Chachi came back, she still guarded her meal until the father, I think, delivered the smaller fish. That’s when I stopped watching. I was pretty sure that Joanie would not be able to finish her dinner; and that Chachi would be back sooner or later.

      •  Comment from Linda Oliver

        OMG Lavada – I’m sorry I missed that sight! Joanie always seemed so quiet and docile but she is really getting assertive. The main way I tell those two apart is by the eyes because Chachi has an “eagle-eye” look, while Joanie’s eyes are softer. I am so glad that she has the will to grow up and stop being the baby. Considering that I have a ten year old cat that still acts like a baby, I know some animals never do. We missed a lot at the other nest, but I think there is one babyish bird there who waits at the nest quite a bit. None of them seem to sleep there though.

        •  Comment from Lavada

          Linda — I think the ferocity depends on the degree of hunger!!! I don’t think Joanie had eaten all day and maybe hadn’t eaten the previous evening. And I wonder if Chachi is now beginning to be able to catch a fish once in a while. He always seemed more precocious, if that’s the word I want, than any of the others. I’ve watched these two so much, they seem like my own. Joanie is bigger than Chachi now and her feathers are a lighter brown than his. She also has more speckles on her breast. He looks a lot like Bama — with feathers so dark brown they look almost black. The most amazing thing I saw was him chasing her after she bumped him off the perch. She took off immediately after hitting him and had a bit of a head start, and I could see them flying over past the buildings and near the woods and back. I was wondering what would happen if he caught her, but he didn’t.

  •  Comment from Lisa Feldkamp

    Thank you all for the continued comments. I’m intrigued by the moments when siblings share food even without parent intervention. I would never have thought Chachi would share with Joanie after the way they started out.
    I saw two of the Wynken, Blynken and Nod crew fly in with a fish – it looked like they were going to share it, but the camera slowed way down and I had to get to work so I missed the action.
    I’m guessing, that both adults are now spending nights perched near the nest but not in it (as Matt described male ospreys do for most of the nesting season). I can ask Matt if he knows more.

    •  Comment from Lavada

      Lisa, I have noticed in the last couple of weeks, Bama has come to the nest a few times bringing fish. For quite a while, Allie was the only one bringing them. Then one day, Chachi and Joanie were squabbling over a fish that Allie brought and, suddenly, there were 4 birds in the nest! Bama had come with an extra fish. He never lingers, and leaves immediately after he has delivered it. I haven’t seen Elbert in ages, but that may be because the camera was so cloudy. Also, have you noticed the nests aren’t as well-kept as they were when the chicks were pre-flight. Josie used to rearrange the “furniture” constantly, but that nest looks like a disaster area now. After watching a while, you notice all these little things. I hope that the things we report, add to the knowledge.

  •  Comment from Marvin

    Sure hate to see the cameras shut down. I have really enjoyed them. It was good to see Joanie finally being more vocal and aggressive protecting her meal. She was slow but finally showed her stuff. Chachi did share a few times and I missed who brought her a half eaten fish the other evening but I figured it was him.
    Thank you all so much.
    Marv

  •  Comment from Loralee

    Feeling much better this year about the final countdown of the Osprey Cam…last year, little Aubrey (Allie and Bama’s smallest) was still in the nest, crying for mom or dad when the camera was shut down…so sad to think of her there all alone! This year was fabulous, so happy that I watched again!! Thanks to all who make this wonder possible!

    •  Comment from Lavada

      I have enjoyed this first year of watching these fabulous birds, and I hope to be on hand next year for the future families. I wish Josie’s chicks could have had identification tags so I could tell them apart. Not being able to see them very much while they were growing and getting ready to fly, didn’t help much. I hope the camera is out of their reach next year! Also, it was so much fun to talk to all of you. Lisa and Matt have been super in explaining things to us. Good job!!!

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