Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Ospreys are Back for the Season


There was a time when it was quite challenging to see an osprey.  The populations had been almost completely wiped out. In the late 1970s, the most predictable path to see these birds was to be somewhere north and remote, wake up before dawn, hike out to some point using a combination of trails, dead reckoning, and crossed fingers, perhaps looking at someone else's topographical map with an X scrawled on it, and set up a scope.  Then, if one was patient and lucky, among the pines and tides, one could see a pair of these magnificent birds building a nest, or, later on, sitting on eggs and then feeding young.  Watching one or the other go out and catch fish was unforgettable.

Some early morning birding walks were included in summer camp experiences.  If interested, campers or counselors could tie towels to the doors of the cabins, and then the ends of their bed.  This was the signal to be woken up around 5:30 to join pre-breakfast osprey excursions. (This system could, however, be abused, as campers discovered that they could tie towels to the beds of their enemies who had no interest in birding.)

It is easier now, to be sure.  Thanks to collective efforts by so many, Ospreys are common again in many places.  But it is still a thrill to see them return each year, especially the first sightings of the year - such as happened today.








10 comments:

  1. don't let the name fool you-she just had her first egg
    http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/46/Great_Horned_Owls/

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    1. Oh you're watching the Savannah nest too! As much as I miss the GHOs this year, this osprey pair has been a delightful couple to study.

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    2. Amazed when she rode out those harsh wind storms on the post/beams! There was a small squirrel condo in/under that nest.

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    3. Hellgate's, Iris and Louis should be up soon-all new set up.

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    4. Watching Hellgate [and reading Dr. Erick Greene's commentary] was my formative experience dating I guess 3 to 4 years ago, featuring the parental ballet orchestrations of Stanley and Iris. Oh God that hail storm that wiped out their family-to-be. I haven't quite taken to Iris' boy toy, Louis. Maybe this year!

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  2. Here in Minneapolis (inside the city limits, even) red-tailed hawks have become nearly commonplace and even bald eagles aren't much of a surprise. I think it's a similar delight.

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  3. Wonderfully uplifting—and very New England—piece of writing. I'll cleave to this vision of spring in the midst of all this wet snow. It's a much more salubrious one.

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  4. We used to see ospreys fairly often when we visited the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Or at least that's what I believe they were. Other bird species have made a comeback, too, although Canada geese can make a nuisance of themselves. I see (and hear) owls where I live now now and then. To see one is something of a treat but there is something spooky about owls. Don't let an owl call your name.

    I see hawks frequently. You have to look for them, though, and you will alway see them in the same places. The most interesting bird sighting I've seen (and I'm not a birder) was to observe a heron catchh a fish.

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  5. They are returning - thanks to conservation efforts - to parts of the
    U.K., too. Magnificent birds ...

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  6. In a remote section of Pine Creek in the Black Forest of PA where my husband often fly fishes, away from cell phone service, is a sanctuary for rare species such as Ospreys and Eagles. This tiny area around Slate Run is a haven for bird-watchers who make their yearly pilgrimage to the Cedar Run Inn, known for its Hummingbird population, for scarce bird sightings. What makes this spot extra special is the Rails-to-Trails system that runs the course of the creek making travel by foot or bicycle very convenient. If you ever want to get away from it all...

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