Welcome to the 2017 Blackwater NWR Osprey Cam season! Our couple currently has one egg and it was laid on April 29. We hoped to see at least one more egg, but so far we still have a one-egg clutch, and at this point we suspect that’s all that will be laid this year. Here is the scorecard:
- 1st egg:
Laid: April 29
Potential hatch: June 3
Folks often ask if this is our same couple from last year. We don’t band ospreys at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (we have a lot of them), so we don’t have a band to examine, but this couple returned from migration in a timely manner and seemed to immediately recognize each other (no prolonged mating/bonding activity or competition for the nest), and then quickly went about bringing in a ton of sticks to fill the platform. So based on this behavior, we think this is our same couple from last year.
As a reminder, last year our couple produced two chicks that successfully fledged. Our camera malfunctioned after the eggs were laid, and we missed a lot of the action because we’re not allowed to go up and potentially disturb them while they’re nesting. Ospreys are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and causing them to potentially abandon their eggs is not allowed, so we had to wait until the chicks fledged before we could visit the nest and repair the camera. But the two chicks did successfully fledge, and they were seen around the nest site before they migrated.
If you’re new to our Osprey Cam, the white building you see in the background of the cam image is the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center. If you visit the Refuge (visit our website for directions), be sure to stop in at the Visitor Center because we have two monitors in the building that show a live video feed of the Osprey Cam. We currently don’t have streaming video on our website, but we can tell you that the local authorities are working to bring broadband service down the road toward Blackwater NWR and the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which just opened across the road from the Refuge. So we might have streaming video in the future. I know we’ve said this before, but the local authorities are finally laying the cabling and contacting us about potential service, so it seems more hopeful at this point.
We thank you for joining us for another season of the Blackwater NWR Osprey Cam, and we look forward to seeing a chick around the beginning of June. And don’t forget, if you’d like to submit images to our cam gallery, visit our Cam Instructions page for directions on sending us any images you capture.