Wednesday, March 29, 2017

They're back......

It's official....we have Ospreys back on their nests. I will be running around identifying them in the next few days. Looking forward to meeting up with many of the new volunteers in the next week too! Here we go. And here is a link to a new osprey cam out in the Bay Area that one of my osprey friends sent! ....http://sfbayospreys.org

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Here they come!

I just received a report of an osprey flying near one of our nests! Not on the nest so it was not identified, but it means our friends are returning to the area! This is a heads up to the volunteers...let the nest checks begin in earnest! I have notified the volunteer on that nest and I will check a few nests today. It's officially Osprey season!

Monday, March 27, 2017

This week.....

First Ospreys are back on the nest in Montana....so start your cars! This is the week! We will see some of our friends here in Minnesota very soon! 
Thanks for all the interest from new volunteers....I am hoping to meet up with many of you very soon!!! We still need some monitors on the west side of the metro! Email me at osprey.mn@gmail.com

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Out and about...

I went for a little ride today. I had been losing sleep over a nest where I saw some plastic landscape netting last fall, after chicks had fledged. Was worried about what might happen this year and was lying awake trying to figure out where I could get a climber to get that crap out of the nest. So happy to find that the stuff I saw in the nest last fall is now below the nest tangled around the support arms of the platform, and not where chicks could get caught up in it. Whew. It's nightmare material for me. Checked a few other nests where we typically see some of our earliest returns, but saw no Ospreys, no fresh whitewash or freshly broken sticks. Some nests have been removed from cell towers. Sigh. I rewarded myself with a chocolate croissant and a latte. As the project grows, the demands on me continue to expand (lead scientist, secretary, volunteer coordinator, webmaster, fundraiser, public relations director) and preparing for the new season takes a lot of time, finding and organizing volunteers , meeting and training the new ones, always needing more help...in so many ways. Wishing we had the support we need to grow this research study into something really exciting...so many possibilities for Investigation. Meanwhile we do the very best we can to keep accurate track of all known nests, maintaining a complete productivity study, putting up new nests when we find some boys scouts to help, finding new nests on man made structures. Thanks to the experienced volunteers who are already visiting nests to look for Ospreys and assess the condition of the nests and supporting structures.
We will see what the tide brings in this year....

Friday, March 24, 2017

Please help us.....

The Ospreys will be returning to their nests in the twin cities area within the next few days or weeks. (Ospreys are already back on the east coast and in Missouri.) Twin Cities Metro Osprey Watch needs your help. This is our annual plea to please report new nests or osprey activity in the eight county metro area to us. We are trying to monitor all know nests in Hennepin, Ramsey, Carver, Washington, Anoka, Wright, Dakota and Scott counties as part of a long term study on these raptors. We are also seeking volunteers to help monitor these nests. (122 known occupied nests last year, which included 13 new nests.) We are assembling our field teams now so If you are interested in helping us by checking a nest once a week through the breeding season, please contact Vanessa Greene at osprey.mn@gmail.com.
Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might be interested in joining this research effort. Thanks!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

spring migration.....

Are the Ospreys on their way home? Our weather here has us thinking about an early spring and I am already getting reports of Ospreys back on the nest but I question these sightings. Our Ospreys from Minnesota usually spend their winters  in South and Central America. They are unaware of what the weather is like here in the upper Midwest. What is it that triggers their northerly spring migration? It is not necessarily weather related. The urge to migrate is triggered by a hormonal response to the length of the day. We do not currently have any Ospreys here with satellite transmitters on them to monitor their movements, but Ospreys in other parts of the world that are being followed do show movement. Some Ospreys have shown up on nests in the southeastern U.S. But this is just the beginning of the northerly movements of the earliest migrants. I do believe that weather has some effect upon their migration since they rely upon strong northerly winds to carry them back to their breeding territories. When they begin to get closer to home, if they encounter frozen lakes, a snowy landscape or strong southerly winds they will begin to slow down. Food (fish) may be difficult to find. Northerly movements may slow down or even halt. I have been documenting return dates here for 23 years and while there is some variation in return dates, it does not vary wildly. We will probably not see Ospreys returning to their nests a month early. We have seen return dates altered  by a week or so if they are lucky enough to find open fishable waters and good northerly wind currents. The older more experienced breeding pairs are usually the first to return since they know that the sooner they lay eggs, the greater the chance of survival for their offspring. (Those older chicks begin their fall migration better prepared than late hatching juveniles.) Younger unmated Ospreys will continue to trickle in until late April, looking for mates and territories while the early returning birds will already be incubating.
Having said all that, we are preparing for the return of our winged friends. I know many nest monitors have been in touch with me and I hope all that have monitored in the past will contact me and re-up for another year of observing these magnificent raptors. We ALWAYS need more help, with over 120 nests to watch over, so if anyone is interested in watching over a nest or two thru the breeding season, please email me at osprey.mn@gmail.com so we can talk about our monitoring protocols and find an appropriate nest for you to adopt. We ask that you commit to checking the nests once a week, and if you are unable to for some reason (vacation, sickness, life) just let me know so we can fill in. It is necessary to have some birding equipment....a spotting scope or good binoculars. I am getting myself prepared....got a new tripod (thanks Anamaria Betterman!), a new field notebook, last years data bound and ready for reference, new charts on my iPad ready to fill in for the 2017 season. Hope some more of you will join us in the great Osprey adventure this year!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Thanks.....

Thanks to all the friends, family and volunteer monitors who came to the Birds of Prey benefit fundraiser last Saturday evening, hosted by the Raptor Resource Project. What a fun evening.....the Brian Boru bagpipe band got the evening off to a rousing start...lots of interesting talks and great music followed. I deeply appreciate the support shown and it was so comforting to see the familiar faces in the audience when I spoke. Special thanks to Andrea Niemi, Carol Christians and her husband ( whose name I can't recall right now, sorry), Grace and Roger Pass, Brad Benn, and of course Frank and Trudy Taylor. I also want to thank Barb Ankrum for sending a generous donation to me since she could not make it to the event.
A special thanks to Mike Haeg for all his help preparing the PowerPoint program. I couldnt do this work without a lot of help. And of course a huge thanks to the Raptor Resource Project, John Howe and John Dingley for including me! I am so grateful!