Monthly Archives: June 2013

No Chick for 2013

Wing-like item in Osprey Cam nestSadly our 2013 Osprey Cam season is not to be. About a week before our first egg was to hatch, two of the three eggs disappeared. We did see some periods where the parents were off the nest during a rain storm, and it’s possible a predator came in and took the eggs. Based on the lateness of this year’s eggs and the behavior of our parents, we believed these were new parents, and this would be a classic “newbie” mistake.

Our one remaining egg hatched on June 17, but the chick never looked very active (it didn’t sit up a lot) and on June 21 it became obvious from the parents’ behavior that the chick didn’t make it. It did look like the parents had been feeding it, but if the chick had health problems and was not actually eating, there wasn’t a lot the parents could do.

After the chick was lost, our parents hung around the nest for a little while and deposited something that looked like a bird’s wing in the nest. Ospreys have been observed adding the wings of dead birds to their nests (they don’t prey on birds, so it’s assumed they collect them from deceased birds). Oddly enough this item (whatever it was) was placed right over the former nest cup.

Osprey Cam parent in marshSince that time there have been a few observations of the parents around the nest, including today when I saw one of the parents out in the marsh across from the cam nest. We also haven’t seen any eagles on the cam nest, and that normally means the ospreys are still defending it, so as long as the osprey parents are around protecting the nest, we probably won’t see any eagles perching on the platform, which they like to do since it’s near the Blackwater River. In late August, we would expect the osprey parents to start on migration, and then we will probably see eagles perching on the cam nest.

Despite the loss of our chick, we have seen some success at another nest along our Wildlife Drive at Blackwater Refuge. The video below was taken at a water-based platform right before the Osprey Cam nest, and you can see from the video that there are three healthy chicks, which are visible when the father osprey brings in a fish for the hungry family. James O’Guinn took this video and shared it on our Facebook page — thanks, James!

In you’re thinking about visiting Blackwater Refuge during the summer, you’re sure to see plenty of ospreys — including this family — and also quite a few adult and immature bald eagles flying around, so be sure to come out for a visit. You can learn more about visiting on our website.

We will keep the Osprey Cam Gallery open the rest of the summer, so if any interesting birds visit, you can still submit photos for the gallery.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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2013 Osprey Cam Season

2013 Blackwater Osprey Cam eggWelcome to another season of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Osprey Cam!

We apologize for the late start to our blog this year; things have been a bit hectic. For those who weren’t watching the Osprey Cam Gallery when we posted the photos showing our eggs, here is the scorecard:

1st egg
Laid: May 6
Possible Hatch: June 13

2nd egg
Laid: May 9
Possible Hatch: June 16

3rd egg
Laid: May 12
Possible Hatch: June 19

These hatch dates are based on the fact that we often see an osprey hatch at around 38 days, although they can hatch as early as 35 days.

This year was the latest that we’ve ever had eggs laid on the cam nest since we went live back in 2001. Usually late eggs means there is an inexperienced couple at the nest. In addition to the lateness of the eggs, we also saw some other signs that indicated we might have a young pair on the nest, such as the way they pushed the first egg around the nest a bit before they settled down to incubate it.

Things were going well with the incubating this year until Saturday morning (see the Gallery update) when during the rain from Tropical Storm Andrea, we got a good look at the wet and flattened nest cup and we noticed there appeared to be only one egg. Another photo today seemed to also confirm that we have only one egg. Finally, Laura from the UK captured a time-lapse video on Sunday that showed no real movement in the nest during the day, so we don’t think a chick hatched prematurely.

For those who were with us in 2008, you might remember that we had a young pair that year, and during a four-day rain storm they left the eggs to seek shelter, after which a crow came in and punctured the eggs. This was clearly an inexperienced couple that didn’t have the determination to stick out the weather, and sadly not long after they lost the eggs the sun came out and the rain stopped.

On Saturday morning, we did get reports that the 2013 osprey couple were off the nest for a while during the rain, even though the storm had not gone on that long, but we didn’t get any visual confirmation that a predator came onto the nest and took or damaged the eggs, so it’s a mystery at this point as to why we seem to have only one egg.

There is a chance that the other two eggs are buried out of sight, but it’s been a couple days and we haven’t had a clear view of more than one, so the odds of the eggs being “hidden” seem small.

At this stage we do have one egg, but we don’t know which one it is, so it’s hard to predict when it might hatch. If this is a young pair with little experience, it might be better if they have only one chick to feed this year.

So that’s where we stand for now. Lots of unanswered questions about our couple, so we’ll just have to sit back and watch.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
Support the Blackwater Cams
Contact Us

Categories: eggs, osprey cam | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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