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2017 Nest Cam News

Archives of Nest Cam News for the Osprey Cam located at Forsythe NWR. This year two young successfully fledged.

August 16

Both young are still hanging around the nest. They must be spoiled! The male has been providing them plenty of food. Soon, they will need to provide for themselves. It's life of death once fall migration kicks in, so they had better get out there and start foraging on their own.

In other news, our admin access and control of the camera here has been lost. Our login was apparently hacked. We can still control the camera for now, but that could be taken away at anytime. To regain control and admin access we need to take down the camera and reset it while it's in hand. We are hoping to hold off on that until September, so for now things are touch and go...

August 1

Image of One of the fledglings looking up at a plane overhead.One of the fledglings looking up at a plane overhead.

Both young have fledged! The first around 10 days ago and the second 2 days later. As anyone who has watched the nest, you can see how they make their first flights. Once their feathers are fully developed, at around 7-8 weeks of age, they jump and flap to strengthen their wing muscles. Eventually they take off and make their first flight. With enough practice (and confidence) they fly further and further from the nest. At this time the young are still dependent on the adults for food. The adults will offer whole prey items for them to practice feeding themselves once they learn to find and catch prey on their own. A great place to visit during the late summer time of year is our ocean front beaches. There you can watch these young birds fish in the surf. When out on the bays, look up and you'll see families of ospreys kettling high in the sky as they also learn to use thermals to soar in preparation for fall migration.

It won't be long until the female at this nest starts to head south. She is the first to start her migration, which typically begins in mid-August. Watch and contribute your sightings of the nest on our Interaction page.

July 13

Image of A six week old osprey looks up as another bird catches its eye above its nest. A six week old osprey looks up as another bird catches its eye above its nest. Ben Wurst

Thankfully, things have been quiet at the Osprey Cam nest. While we were thinking about banding at the nest this year, that opportunity has passed. The young are now 6 weeks old and will be flying soon. Now they are busy looking beyond the nest. Watching birds flying past the nest and grabbing prey from the adults to feed themselves. They are growing very quickly and will soon be on their own. At six weeks of age young ospreys feathers are almost fully developed. Their flight feathers just have a small amount left in pin (blood feather). They are fiesty when approached and not afraid to confront any threats that approach.

We are happy that this nest continues to be successful. Banding the young will not give us any new information about where they go, so we are also happy to allow them the peace and quiet of their nest on the saltmarsh at Forsythe NWR.

June 20

It's been a while since our last update... The young ospreys are now 3 weeks old and old enough to be banded. All has ben pretty quiet at this nest. The adults are likely happy only having to feed two young instead of three. A nice change of pace over previous years. Two young is also not abnormal. It is actually preferred. We'd rather see less young that are very well fed, than more young that are not well fed. The only concern of late was thunderstorms that passed through last night, but they were luckily not too intense along the coast. We are extremely optimistic for a calm summer season (weather wise) with no high straight line wind events that can do damage to active nests and blow young from nests.

Next week, we will begin our 2017 Osprey Surveys and Census, where we will be asking for the public to help report activity at known osprey nest sites on This is the first time we will be conducting a statewide census since 2014 using input from volunteer Osprey Watchers.

In other news, we will be hosting our first Osprey related LIVE Q&A on YouTube on Friday evening at 7pm. There we will discuss all things osprey including the annual nest census and information that viewers can use to help determine the outcome of nests that they are watching.

May 30

Image of Peek-a-boo! See the osprey hatchling?!?Zoom+ Peek-a-boo! See the osprey hatchling?!?

We have hatching! The first of the two eggs hatched yesterday morning and the second hatched this morning!! I was sent the image above by one of our camera controllers. I didn't notice the hatchling until I looked at the photo a second time. Oh my! Was it time to start to plan a rescue mission? Possibly.

Shortly thereafter, I got another photo, which then showed no ribbon in the nest bowl. Good thing the adults managed to get that mess of plastic trash out of harms way...for now... A sad depiction of life as we know it now, in our consumerism based, disposable lifestyle. Plastic that we use today will be around forever...

As I say in more of these situations, at least we have a camera to watch as the situation unfolds. Without such amazing technology (to have a remote, solar powered camera on the middle of the saltmarsh) we would not know of such a problem. There are over 500 pairs of nesting ospreys along the coast and many more could be threatened by our irresponsible disposal (or reckless littering) of plastic trash, including the intentional release of balloons. Osprey use plastic as nesting material and to "decorate" nests. Sadly, it is becoming quite a common nest construction item and some mimics natural nesting material, like eelgrass (ribbon), sea lettuce (plastic bags), and sticks (plastic toys).

You can help by reducing your use of single use plastic, reduce, reuse, recycle, participate in local watershed based cleanups (the Barnegat Bay Blitz is on June 7!), not releasing balloons, and talking to your friends about how important this is to us, our environment, and the critters that depend on it to survive!

If you see ospreys in trouble, please shoot me an email!

Image of Feeding time on May 30, 2017. The first young hatched on May 29 and the second hatched a day later.Feeding time on May 30, 2017. The first young hatched on May 29 and the second hatched a day later.

May 25

We're now on day 35 of incubation. Hatch watch begins tomorrow. With the recent cool and wet weather, it could affect the survival of other nests that are hatching along the coast of New Jersey. Despite being semi-altrical at hatching, which means being downy and able to see, osprey young are very vulnerable after hatching. They need very close parental care (to be fed and kept warm) and without it, will not survive.

We're hopeful that the trend of wet, cool weather ends soon. When looking at the forecast for the next 7 days, most days look mild with sunny skies.

As you can now see, we finally got the PTZ camera online and it's now streaming here and on YouTube. The pinhole camera will be hosted on YouTube later today and we will update the page when that happens.

In other news, we're beginning to spread the word about the 2017 Osprey Census, where we are seeking observations by the public of active osprey nests throughout the state. These sightings will help us determine the overall size of distribution of ospreys in the state. You can see all known nest sites on Osprey Watch, a global osprey watching community.

May 15

Image of Two eggs are visible, along with the dreaded red clam bag, as seen in the background. Two eggs are visible, along with the dreaded red clam bag, as seen in the background.

Sorry for my lack of updates! We finally got admin. access to the main (PTZ) camera during the last week of April; however, we have not been able to stream the camera online due networking issues. We are trying to get those issues resolved and hope to get the main feed online soon.

In other news, this year the female only laid two eggs. This is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it is almost preferred, since it will take less effort on the part of the adults to provide from only two hungry mouths instead of three. In turn, we will likely see less sibling rivalry this year, unless prey is scarce.

April 23

Image of The female gives us a quick view of egg #1 ~ 7:15pm on April 19.Zoom+ The female gives us a quick view of egg #1 ~ 7:15pm on April 19.

Luckily we were able to get the pinhole camera (located on the nest) back online the day before the first egg was laid! Viewers noticed the egg at around 7:11 pm. Ospreys begin incubation after the first egg is laid. The eggs hatch in order of being laid, so this egg will hatch first. Over the past 4 years, the eggs have been incubated for an average of 39 days (36 - 2013, 40 - 2014, 40 - 2015, 39 - 2016). Like previous years, hatch watch will start on May 26 (day 36).

She should be on two eggs by now. Hopefully we will get a view of them today. If you see an incubation exchange and capture a view of them, please post to our interaction page!

In other news, we have been extremely frustrated with the delay in getting the camera(s) back online. We still do not have access to the main camera at the nest. We will continue to ask for USFWS to fix the networking issues...

April 15

Image of When the female stays close to the nest bowl, we know eggs will be coming soon...When the female stays close to the nest bowl, we know eggs will be coming soon...

We do have access to the admin side of the network camera, however, we are not able to stream it online without more changes by USFWS.

Eggs should be laid any day now. In 2015 the female laid the first egg on April 16 and in 2016, she laid it on April 17.

March 31

Image of The male adds nesting material to the nest on 3/30/17.The male adds nesting material to the nest on 3/30/17.

Yesterday, we visited Forsythe NWR to try and diagnose and repair the osprey cam. Upon arrival to the refuge, our first step is to hook up a laptop to the network switch (where the camera equipment is attached to the local network). To our surprise, the camera(s) and audio came right up! We expected the worst case scenerio, a broken component at the nest... Luckily, that is not the case. Instead, construction at the refuge has changed the local network and taken the camera offline. This should be an easy fix, so we hope that USFWS IT staff can fix the issue ASAP, because the pair is back! They have been back for several days, since a nice bed of spartina lines the bowl of their nest. Eggs should be coming soon! We hope not before the camera gets back online...

March 23, 2017

While anxiously awaiting the return of the nesting pair, this past weekend's weather seems to have caused the camera to not come back online. Right now we are unsure of the problem, since the camera is located in the middle of the saltmarsh, access is not so easy... We are planning to visit the nest and camera system next week, with generous transport by USFWS's airboat. In the meantime, we will keep our fingers crossed for the camera to come back online.

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