Savannah Ospreys

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Camera Host: Skidaway Audubon

Savannah Ospreys Alert

On May 14, the Osprey pair on camera were harassed and attacked by an aggressive Osprey. Following the attack, the pair's lone nestling appeared listless and didn't respond to the parents' attempts to feed it, and it may have been injured during the interactions. Unfortunately, despite our hopes that the nestling's condition would improve, it appears to have succumbed to its injuries and died.

 

The deceased nestling was removed by an adult in the early morning on May 15, leaving two inviable eggs left in the nest. While there are eggs still in the nest, the adults will likely continue to incubate the eggs and defend the nest for some time ranging from weeks to even months. We will continue streaming at the site to discover what the future might hold for the Savannah Nest.

 

Thanks for watching and learning with us.

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May 15, 2017

Adult Removes Dead Nestling from Savannah Nest

After a recent intrusion by a competing Osprey left the Savannah pair's only chick dead, the female removes the nestling's body from the nest. Two unhatched eggs remain in the nest. 

May 14, 2017

Savannah Nestling Dies Following Intruder's Visit

Over the last two days, the Osprey pair on camera have been harassed and attacked by at least one aggressive Osprey. Following these recent attacks, the nestling appeared listless and didn't respond to the parents' attempts to feed it, and it may have been injured during the interactions. Unfortunately, despite our hopes that the nestling's condition would improve, it appears to have succumbed to its injuries and died. Since there are eggs still in the nest, the adults will likely continue to incubate the eggs and defend the nest for some time ranging from weeks to even months. They may also continue to try to care for the deceased nestling. We will continue streaming at the site to discover what the future might hold for the Savannah Nest. Thanks for watching and learning with us. 

May 11, 2017

Male Delivers Fish for the Family in Savannah

Keeping a growing chick well fed takes a team effort, and the Savannah Ospreys are becoming quite the parents. The success of any Osprey nest depends on the male's ability to provide ample quantities of fish over the breeding season. Here, the female is quick to feed her chick the catch of the day. 

May 15, 2017

Adult Removes Dead Nestling from Savannah Nest

After a recent intrusion by a competing Osprey left the Savannah pair's only chick dead, the female removes the nestling's body from the nest. Two unhatched eggs remain in the nest. 

May 11, 2017

Perky Osprey Chick Growing Steadily: Will It Be the Lone Nestling?

The lone Osprey chick is getting bigger and more feisty by the day, but it remains uncertain whether this chick will continue to be the solo inhabitant in the nest or if any of the other eggs will hatch. According to studies on breeding Ospreys in the United States, the incubation period for viable eggs ranges between 34 and 43 days. May 11 marks days 42 and 37 of incubation for the second and third eggs, respectively. The window for viability is closing on the second egg, but the third egg could very well still hatch. 

May 11, 2017

Male Delivers Fish for the Family in Savannah

Keeping a growing chick well fed takes a team effort, and the Savannah Ospreys are becoming quite the parents. The success of any Osprey nest depends on the male's ability to provide ample quantities of fish over the breeding season. Here, the female is quick to feed her chick the catch of the day. 

May 14

Savannah Nestling Dies Following Intruder's Visit

Over the last two days, the Osprey pair on camera have been harassed and attacked by at least one aggressive Osprey. Following these recent attacks, the nestling appeared listless and didn't respond to the parents' attempts to feed it, and it may have been injured during the interactions. Unfortunately, despite our hopes that the nestling's condition would improve, it appears to have succumbed to its injuries and died. Since there are eggs still in the nest, the adults will likely continue to incubate the eggs and defend the nest for some time ranging from weeks to even months. They may also continue to try to care for the deceased nestling. We will continue streaming at the site to discover what the future might hold for the Savannah Nest. Thanks for watching and learning with us. 

May 05

Egg #1 Hatches on Savannah Osprey Cam!

The first Osprey egg has hatched in Savannah, Georgia! This young chick is right on time; it hatched on day 39—the average incubation period for Ospreys. If all goes well, the rest of the clutch should hatch over the nest 2–4 days, after which the adults' sole focus will be to provide their chicks with enough food and warmth for the nest 50–60 days until they are ready to fledge. More...

April 04

Egg #3 Spotted in Savannah Nest After Fish Delivery!

It's confirmed – a 3rd Osprey egg has been spotted in the Savannah nest! All three eggs can be seen when the male rolls them after delivering a fish to his mate. Egg #2 was laid on March 30, which suggests that this 3rd egg was laid sometime over the past weekend on April 2 or 3 (Ospreys lay eggs every 2-3 days until the clutch is complete). We're lucky to get a peek at all three eggs because this Osprey pair has built a deep nest bowl that's surrounded by mossy substrate on the sides, which blocks a clear view at the eggs. We're betting that they're just being careful with so many egg hunts being scheduled in the near future! More...

Osprey

Tree

Nest Placement

Ospreys require nest sites in open surroundings for easy approach, with a wide, sturdy base and safety from ground predators (such as raccoons). Nests are usually built on snags, treetops, or crotches between large branches and trunks; on cliffs or human-built platforms. Usually the male finds the site before the female arrives.

Nest Description

Osprey nests are built of sticks and lined with bark, sod, grasses, vines, algae, or flotsam and jetsam. The male usually fetches most of the nesting material—sometimes breaking dead sticks off nearby trees as he flies past—and the female arranges it. Nests on artificial platforms, especially in a pair’s first season, are relatively small—less than 2.5 feet in diameter and 3–6 inches deep. After generations of adding to the nest year after year, Ospreys can end up with nests 10–13 feet deep and 3–6 feet in diameter—easily big enough for a human to sit in.

Clutch Size

1-4 eggs

Incubation Period

36-42 days

Nestling Period

50-55 days

Egg Description

Cream to pinkish cinnamon; wreathed and spotted with reddish brown.

Condition at Hatching

Capable of limited motion. Covered with down and with eyes open.

Fish

Food

The Osprey is the only hawk on the continent that eats almost exclusively live fish. In North America, more than 80 species of live fresh- and saltwater fish account for 99 percent of the Osprey’s diet. Captured fish usually measure about 6–13 inches in length and weigh one-third to two-thirds of a pound. The largest catch on record weighed about 2.5 pounds. On very rare occasions, Ospreys have been observed feeding on fish carcasses or on birds, snakes, voles, squirrels, muskrats, and salamanders. Ospreys probably get most of the water they need from the flesh of their prey, although there are reports of adults drinking on hot days.

Typical Voice

Ospreys have high-pitched, whistling voices. Their calls can be given as a slow succession of chirps during flight or as an alarm call—or strung together into a series that rises in intensity and then falls away, similar to the sound of a whistling kettle taken rapidly off a stove. This second type of call is most often given as an unfamiliar Osprey approaches the nest. As the perceived threat increases, the call can build in intensity to a wavering squeal.
more sounds

See full Species Info at All About Birds

About the Savannah Ospreys

During the Fall of 2014, a pair of Great Horned Owls began frequenting this recently abandoned Bald Eagle nest adjacent to a protected, nutrient-rich salt marsh along the Georgia coast. The nest sits nearly 80′ above one of the six Audubon International Certified golf courses at The Landings, on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, a pair of owls successfully fledged four owlets from the site, but they did not return to breed in 2017. Instead, a pair of Ospreys began renovating the nest and committed to breeding in the same site for 2017.

Ospreys are consummate fishing birds, and this pair fishes primarily from the nearby salt marsh, ponds, and waterways. They use their 6–7 foot wingspans to soar above the water, looking for fish, then diving as deep as 3 feet for shallow-swimming prey. Adult Ospreys usually weigh 3–4 pounds, and they can carry prey up to 50 percent of their own weight. Ospreys can live up to 25 years, and they typically lay 1–4 eggs in a clutch.

Most Osprey pairs are monogamous, staying paired across seasons and beginning nesting soon after each returns from a long migration. Both sexes incubate the eggs. The female sits for the majority of the time (including throughout the night) while the male provisions her with fish. After the eggs hatch, the male continues to bring fish to the nest; the female exclusively broods the young and dissects their meals for about a month after hatching. Later on, when the chicks no longer require her protection and their appetite for fish increases, she will leave the nest and go fishing.

Acknowledgements

The installation was funded by Skidaway Audubon, with approval from the Landings Club board. Essential species-specific information and support came from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Streaming systems vendor HDonTap installed the cameras and provided the managed live streaming service.

Support for the installation and upkeep has come from The Landings Association and The Landings Club with additional funding from Ogeechee Audubon, the Coastal Conservation Association, The Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation and Wild Birds Unlimited, Savannah.