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AHH 24-Hr. News

Lecture: Battery Lewis What’s Old is New Again
Tuesday, 02 September 2014
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Atlantic Highlands Historical Society presents Gail L. Hunton’s Lecture on Hartshorne Woods Park: Battery... Read More...
IMAGE Filmmaker Brings Documentary about the Rights of Immigrant Workers to Monmouth University
Tuesday, 02 September 2014
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - Filmmaker Rachel Lears brings her documentary The Hand That Feeds; a documentary about a group of New York City immigrant... Read More...
IMAGE RBR Buc Backer Foundation Presents “A Day at the Races” on Sept 21
Tuesday, 02 September 2014
PHOTO: Pictured in the winner’s circle at Monmouth Park are members of the RBR Buc Bucker Foundation with the winner of last year’s 50/50... Read More...
IMAGE Pushcart Players Announces Artistic Director
Tuesday, 02 September 2014
PHOTO: Paul Whelihan is named artistic director of Pushcart Players Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s award-winning theatre for young... Read More...
AH Mayor's Ball September 26
Tuesday, 02 September 2014
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Mayor Frederick Rast and the Atlantic Highlands Community Events Committee are excitedly preparing for the Seventh Annual... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Butterflies Take Wing Around NY Harbor
by Joe Reynolds
Wednesday, 03 September 2014
Good news coming out of Canada recently. After a devastating drop in monarch butterfly population numbers over the past two years, including an... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Frank
by David Prown
Monday, 01 September 2014
So as I nestled into my seat in The Showroom movie theatre, I was thinking about how lucky I am to live in an area with both the Red Bank independent... Read More...
IMAGE Slapping Myself Silly!
by Anne Mikolay
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Summer is winding down. I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. It hasn't been a very good season for me. I didn't visit half the places I intended to,... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - August 30, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Saturday, 30 August 2014
Want to watch your friends eye roll with useless facts you know?  "Like" Fact Jack on Facebook: http://bit.ly/FactJackFb I want a bathroom made... Read More...
IMAGE People with Autism Especially Vulnerable
by Daniel J. Vance
Friday, 29 August 2014
Perhaps like you, recently I read of an incident in Okeechobee, Florida, in which an 18-year-old man was recorded on video beating, choking, kicking,... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Thu Sep 04 @ 4:00PM -
Special Preschool Storytime - AH Library
Mon Sep 08 @10:00AM -
Monday Mix - AH
Mon Sep 08 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
PFLAG Meets
Thu Sep 11 @ 3:15PM -
iBuild LEGO® Storytime League - AH Library
Thu Sep 11 @ 4:00PM -
It’s DUPLO® Storytime - AH Library

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/