On March 9, Debi Breaux, Woodstock, GA was the first person to site and report an osprey on the KY nest she was watching on her home computer. Debi wrote, “here is an osprey photo from my 2009 Nest Cam viewer that I just made. I have only seen one osprey so far, but I am psyched! I will keep checking in.” Debi’s report, verified by looking at saved images, confirmed that the male osprey had returned to his nest! KEEP then posted a request at our web site asking that the first person to see two ospreys at the nest please contact KEEP.
On March 18, Linda A. Chambers sent an e-mail to KEEP writing, “two ospreys on the nest!! I’m in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod) and ospreys are my passion. I follow a lot of osprey cams. I also visit the nests in my area daily and keep a journal on ospreys. I’ll keep you posted on what I see in your KY nest. I have a screen capture, I just posted my captured KEEP osprey image on the “Bird Cams Around the World” Forum.” This sighting confirmed that the male’s mate had returned to her nest!
Last year the first osprey egg arrived in the nest on camera on April 3rd and the first chick hatched on May 10th. KEEP would like to hear from you if you are the first person to see the first egg or chick this nesting season. Viewers especially enjoy watching the female feeding the chicks pieces of fish caught mostly by the male at near-by Lake Barkley. Perhaps nest viewers are most amazed at how fast the chicks grow.
KEEP osprey cam viewers are stating that the KEEP site is providing the best quality images of any osprey cam site in the world! Perhaps that is why The International Osprey Foundation recently provided a link to the KEEP osprey cam from their home page at www.ospreys.com KEEP also has perhaps the fastest cam still color images available with a new image available by hitting your refresh button about every 9 seconds. Some of the best still images and video action clips were saved from the 2008-nesting season, which can be seen at KEEP’s web site. KEEP’s camera mounted fifty feet high can be zoomed, panned and tilted from anywhere in the world by our cam administrative operator to providing unique public and school viewing. School study questions are available at KEEP’s web site. Schools from the US and England have reported learning about ospreys including life cycles by observing our ospreys.
Ospreys begin incubation as soon as the first egg is produced so the first egg will hatch several days before the second egg and about a week before the third egg. Osprey adults sit low in the nest when incubating. Watch for the adult to be higher in the nest when hatching begins. As a result of different hatching dates and ages, even though just a few days apart, the chicks’ size differences are apparent as they quickly grow. The osprey chicks will grow to the large size of their parents and will be flying by early to mid July.
Why all the interest in ospreys? Ospreys are a beautiful bird of prey that did not nest in Kentucky for about fifty years due to harmful pesticides. Now Internet viewers including school students can see and learn about this majestic wildlife species once again nesting in Kentucky. Ospreys are excellent environmental quality indicators. Obviously there were environmental problems in Kentucky when ospreys could not nest for fifty years. We are now keeping a close watch on our ospreys and other indicator species such as bluebirds. We are glad that these species are doing far better than they were for so many years. Bluebirds live in Kentucky all year but our ospreys migrate during September to southern Florida or perhaps as far as South America for winter. The young ospreys do not return to nest until they are adults during their third spring. Arriving back in the vicinity of their Kentucky nest, they look for a mate and build their own nest weighing an average 140 pounds. Only the strongest healthy ospreys survive such lengthy journeys to enjoy the life of a soaring osprey.
To see and learn more about ospreys and other KEEP projects, please visit KEEP’s web site at http://keepky.org KEEP projects are supported entirely by donations and volunteers. KEEP appreciates everyone that is helping make KEEP projects possible and successful! Please check the KEEP web site often to see how our osprey family is doing and for new web site features and projects. Additional contact information can be found at the “Contact Us” tab on the website.
(Information for this staff report was submitted by Ed Ray, KEEP, Inc. Founder/Director.)