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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE 11th Annual Pier House 5K to Complete the Jersey Shore Grand Prix on Labor Day
Friday, 22 August 2014
PHOTO: Start of 2013 Pier House race.  LONG BRANCH, NJ - The revitalized Long Branch beachfront will be the site of the 11th Annual Pier House... Read More...
IMAGE Middletown Pays Silent Tribute to September 11 Victims
Friday, 22 August 2014
PHOTO: Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Gardens.  (photo by Lee Beaumont) MIDDLETOWN – A silent tribute will be paid to... Read More...
Middletown Schedules Separate Rabies Clinics for Cats and Dogs
Friday, 22 August 2014
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The Middletown Township Health Department has set dates for the free rabies clinics for cats and dogs. Free Rabies Clinic for Cats... Read More...
Monmouth University Blue Hawk Record Students Perform and Tour in Italy
Friday, 22 August 2014
West Long Branch, N.J. - Monmouth University music industry students from its student-run record label, Blue Hawk Records, performed and toured... Read More...
IMAGE Organizations Unite to Rebuild Long Branch Home
Friday, 22 August 2014
Pictured from left to right:  American Red Cross President for Humanitarian Services Cliff Holtz, American Red Cross Divisional Vice President... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Racial Unrest, Then and Now
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 22 August 2014
In the fall of 1957, while walking my newspaper-route, I read about the drama playing out at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - August 22, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Friday, 22 August 2014
Teen kicked out of NJ movie theater for bringing in candy.Oh, he's a Type 1 diabetic AND the owner is a pediatrician: http://6abc.cm/1t8WyBS After 6... Read More...
IMAGE Atlantic Highlands Waterfront - a Place for All to Enjoy
by Jack Archibald
Friday, 22 August 2014
Even though summer is winding down, good things continue to happen in the Atlantic Highlands harbor that will benefit our community for years to... Read More...
IMAGE No Words to Describe Loss of Amanda
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 21 August 2014
It's not always easy to come up with a weekly topic for this column. Usually, I mentally bat around a few ideas based upon current events or personal... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - August 16, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Saturday, 16 August 2014
Man calls 911 because a drug dealer is at the corner.  Wait, no, that's a street sign: http://bit.ly/1kBfhVf Why did the chicken cross the road?... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Sat Aug 23 @12:30PM - 03:30PM
Jersey Shore Rose Society Meets
Thu Aug 28 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Middletown Mayor Open Office Hours
Tue Sep 02 @ 8:00PM -
Middletown Township Committee Workshop
Thu Sep 04 @ 4:00PM -
Special Preschool Storytime - AH Library
Mon Sep 08 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
PFLAG Meets

joe_reynoldsOkay, I will admit that more people welcome the return of the baseball season this time of year than the arrival of the Osprey breeding season, but I am not sure why. You don't need an expensive ticket to view the action at a local Osprey nest and it occurs rain or shine.

Just look for a large nest of sticks constructed at the top of a dead tree or on an artificial nesting platform or other structures, like a cell phone tower or buoy, in or near a large body of water and this will be the best place to watch out the Osprey breeding season from April through September.

Along the shores of Lower New York Bay and within it vast tidal wetlands, over 50 Ospreys, otherwise known as Fish Hawks, have gathered on their breeding grounds to raise a family. The female lays one to four eggs, but usually three.

Soon after St. Patrick's Day, the first Ospreys arrived to our urban tidal waters to ready their nests. These large gawky birds were tired and weary from the long flight back from their tropical wintering locations. While we don't necessarily think of Osprey's has having a long, intense winged migration, they are certainly capable of it. For example, a 2008 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology revealed that during 13 days in a fall migration period, an Osprey flew over 2,700 miles from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, to French Guiana, South America to spend the winter. Ospreys have been known to fly long distances to locate the perfect place to endure.

osprey_nesting

In March and early April around Lower New York Bay, the Ospreys will reunite with their partners, usually at the same nest site they have used year after year. An Osprey's nest can often become quite large (up to 10 feet high) as more branches, sticks, and other nesting material is added before the beginning of each breeding season. Some Ospreys pairs have been together for years, others for life. Ospreys are generally monogamous and birds three years or older usually mate for life.

Now mating Ospreys will busy themselves day and night around the bay for the next 6 to 7 weeks during the incubation period of their fragile cream-colored spotted eggs. The adult birds have turned into parents and will spend time to make sure everything is just right for the hatching of their babies.

osprey_nesting_2

Once hatched, nearly 2-ounce helpless chicks that can barely call for food will need to be taken care of. Incredibly, with a plentiful supply of fish, these tiny balls of feathers will become as tall as their parents in just eight weeks.

The life of a baby Osprey, however, is more complex than this and is not always pleasant. Osprey eggs do not hatch all at once. Rather, the first chick emerges up to five days before the last one. The older hatchling dominates its younger siblings, and can monopolize the food brought by the parents. If food is abundant, chicks share meals in relative harmony; but in times of scarcity, younger ones may starve to death. It is survival of the fittest being played out every year downstream from Lower Manhattan.

Fortunately, the story of Ospreys in Lower New York Bay is one of general splendor and hope. The population is increasing and after decades of being an endangered species due largely to pollution, this Fish hawk is now a common sight around local waters.

osprey_flying

Although the Osprey is still listed as a threatened species in New Jersey and a species of special concern in New York State, if the human residents of the bay continue to take strong measures to restore and preserve our waterways and aquatic habitats, then the Osprey will remain a beautiful symbol of Lower New York Bay and its breeding season will persist as an important seasonal show for generations of people to enjoy. Just don't forget to bring a bag of crackerjacks or peanuts, and maybe some sushi for the Ospreys!

For more information, pictures and year-round sightings of wildlife in or near Sandy Hook Bay, please check out my blog entitled, Nature on the Edge of New York City at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/