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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE FilmOneFest: Not Just Movies
Thursday, 10 July 2014
photo: Freedom Pottery at FilmOneFest 2013 ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The flourishing arts scene in Atlantic Highlands is evident at FilmOneFest... Read More...
IMAGE Shore Paddle Scheduled for Sunday, July 13
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Paddleboard Race and Fun Paddle to Benefit Clean Ocean Action and Surfers’ Environmental Alliance WHAT:  A paddleboard event to benefit Clean... Read More...
IMAGE Free Historical Augmented Reality Tour of the Asbury Park Boardwalk
Thursday, 10 July 2014
ASBURY PARK, NJ - The Asbury Park Boardwalk has been experiencing an upswing recently. The restaurant, entertainment, and tourism industries have all... Read More...
Gateway Photography Contest: Tell a Story with a Picture
Thursday, 10 July 2014
July 1- July 31, 2014 Love Gateway? Do you take photos of your favorite park all of the time? Gateway's photo contest started on July 1st and runs... Read More...
Classic Rock Music from Woodstock Era
Thursday, 10 July 2014
MANALAPAN, NJ –  For those who memorialize the Woodstock Era and know every lyric and intonation of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Pink Floyd, Rolling... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE For the Children
by Woody Zimmerman
Thursday, 10 July 2014
When I was raising my own children, I could always be had by a bedtime plea of “Dad, I’m hungry…” A ritual bowl of cereal and some... Read More...
IMAGE Book Review: Love and Treasure
by Lindsey Stefan
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Jack Wiseman is an elderly man who has only one regret in life. He asks his granddaughter Natalie to take a necklace that he has been keeping for... Read More...
IMAGE A See-Through Fish Swims in Local Waters
by Joe Reynolds
Thursday, 10 July 2014
So far this summer, the seining has been pretty good around local waters in Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay. Along with the usual suspects, such as... Read More...
IMAGE When Did I Become Danny Dorn
by Daniel Murphy
Monday, 07 July 2014
For those of you who have grown up in Red Bank and are over 20 you will remember Dorn’s Photo Shop.  Born in 1910 Danny Dorn Sr. became a... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Chef
by David Prown
Saturday, 05 July 2014
The movie "Chef" has been out for several weeks. All I knew was that it starred "Jon Favreau" who I clearly remember from the awesome guys comedy... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Tue Jul 15 @ 3:00PM - 04:30PM
Free Summer Mini-Camp
Tue Jul 15 @ 6:30PM - 08:00PM
Restoring Credit After Sandy Seminar
Wed Jul 16 @ 9:30AM - 10:50AM
Story Time
Wed Jul 16 @ 3:00PM - 04:30PM
Free Summer Mini-Camp
Thu Jul 17 @ 3:15PM - 04:30PM
Children's Programs

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/