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AHH 24-Hr. News

Volunteers Needed for Halloween Festivities in the Historic Town of Atlantic Highlands
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Atlantic Highlands, NJ - Eight nights of Halloween festivities are about to come to the historic town of Atlantic Highlands, and volunteers are... Read More...
IMAGE Jersey Shore Partnership Makes a Splash with Big Wave Anchor Award
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
PHOTO: ( left to right):  Robert Mainberger,President Jersey Shore Partnership; John Szeliga, Chairman of the Jersey Shore Partnership... Read More...
IMAGE CPC Behavioral Healthcare Opens Freehold Counseling Center
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Behavioral Health, Addiction Recovery, Counseling & Education Services Offer Hope and Help for Monmouth Families Freehold, NJ –... Read More...
IMAGE "Through the Middle” with Artists Laura Sharp Wilson and David French
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
IMAGE: Laura  Sharp Wilson & David French Collaboration Opening Reception, September 27 Atlantic Highlands, NJ - On Saturday,... Read More...
IMAGE Red Bank Crop Hunger Walk Set for Oct. 19
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
PHOTO: The Food Pantry operated by the Area Association of Community Churches and located at the Atlantic Highlands United Methodist Church is one of... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Hoy for the Hall of Fame
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 13 September 2014
I guess every year you'll just have to get used to reading about William Elsworth “Dummy” Hoy, a deaf professional baseball player from... Read More...
IMAGE 9/11 - An Historic Shift
by Jack Archibald
Friday, 12 September 2014
Wherever you walk in lower Manhattan on September 11, there is always some quiet reflection going on.  Most of the workers are quietly going... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - September 12, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Friday, 12 September 2014
Here's a handy info graph that shows what diseases kills most of us and how much we give to those diseases: http://bit.ly/1lLNoKL "12 Year-old... Read More...
IMAGE Could Someone Else Pray?
by George Hancock-Stefan
Thursday, 11 September 2014
E. M. Bounds starts his book on prayer by telling us that the world will never know the things that were altered through prayer - Elijah praying and... Read More...
IMAGE The Four Rs of Education
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Now that summer vacation has ended, I've seen lots of little children heading off to school, some with neat, new clothes and clean backpacks, others... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Wed Sep 17 @ 9:30AM - 10:00AM
Baby Story Time Ages 10 – 24 months
Wed Sep 17 @ 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Gymboree Play and Music! - AH Library
Wed Sep 17 @10:30AM - 10:50AM
Toddler Story Time Ages 2 & 3
Wed Sep 17 @11:00AM -
Making "Segmented" Wooden Bowls
Thu Sep 18 @ 3:15PM - 03:45PM
School Age Programs Grades K and up

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/