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AHH 24-Hr. News

Pallone, Menendez, Booker to Obama: #KillTheDrill
Sunday, 01 February 2015
Bipartisan Coalition of NJ Mayors Warn Offshore Drilling Threatens Jersey Shore Beaches, Economy NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06) sent a letter today to President Obama... Read More...
IMAGE Junior Sailing 2015 Program at Keyport Yacht Club
Sunday, 01 February 2015
KEYPORT, NJ – Registration is now open for the summer Junior Sailing Program at the Keyport Yacht Club. Parents and young sailors interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to attend our Feb. 7 Open House where they can ask... Read More...
IMAGE NJR Clean Energy Ventures Announces Completion of Solar Projects
Sunday, 01 February 2015
PHOTO: NJR Clean Energy Ventures solar installation at Howell. WALL, N.J. – NJR Clean Energy Ventures (NJRCEV), the unregulated distributed power subsidiary of New Jersey Resources(NYSE: NJR), announced the completion of a 9.9 megawatt (MW)... Read More...
IMAGE Middletown Library Events - February 8-14, 2015
Saturday, 31 January 2015
Programs @ the library February 8th – 14th Passport to Reading Program continues.  Pick up a passport and list of activities at the Children's Desk. Each activity you complete earns one stamp in your passport. Six stamps earn you a ticket for... Read More...
AAA Mid-Atlantic: Super Bummed – Falling Fuel Prices Intercepted by Refinery Issues
Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Week After falling for a record 123 consecutive days, for a total savings of $1.31 per gallon, prices at the pump have changed direction slightly.  The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline ticked upward to $2.05 per gallon... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE SD Family Has Disability-Related Challenges
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 31 January 2015
On Christmas Eve 2014, Tommi Mclaughlin of Spearfish, South Dakota, lost her balance because of multiple sclerosis (MS), fell over backwards near the... Read More...
IMAGE Observations on a MLK Celebration
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 30 January 2015
On Monday, January 19, 2015 I went to a service honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. I went for multiple reasons. I went to honor a great American and... Read More...
IMAGE Worst Storm Ever? (What’s up widat?)
by Woody Zimmerman
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Somehow – no doubt largely due to the vigilance and timely warnings supplied by our political and media guardians – we have managed to survive... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Into The Woods
by David Prown
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
I saw the Broadway version of "Into the Woods" in the 80's with Bernadette Peters just a few days after I saw "Les Miserables" with the original... Read More...
IMAGE Protest This Super Bowl Commercial
by Anne Mikolay
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Sunday, February 1, the New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in NFL Super Bowl XLIX. Football fans will tune in to see the... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Mon Feb 09 @ 7:00PM -
AH - American Legion Meeting
Wed Feb 11 @ 7:00PM -
AH Council Meeting
Mon Feb 16 @ 7:00PM -
Classical Concert - Violin and Piano
Mon Feb 16 @ 7:30PM -
Deer Control Talk in Holmdel
Wed Feb 25 @ 7:00PM -
AH Council Meeting

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/