Thursday, April 14, 2016

What type of fish are those Osprey eating?

As we have been watching the osprey bringing in fish we've been trying to identify the species they bring in. So far we have clearly identified peanut bunker and perch. One of our osprey watchers has also seen koi (which are an ornamental  sub species of carp bred and sold for their beauty, a favorite in ponds)  Carp is a very hardy fish, tolerating more extreme temperatures than other fish. They are like the goats of the fish world, eating everything in its path, snails, plants, fish eggs and vegetation.

If you spot a different species of fish email us and we will add it to the list, or get a screenshot of it and we will try to identify.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Will eggs be coming soon?

The Ospreys have been doing more work on their nest and it's starting to come together in a bowl shape. Will we be seeing eggs in the next few days?

A nest bowl is starting to take shape.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Prove you're a good provider!

One of the ways that an Osprey pair strengthens its bond is the male going fishing for the female. When the female wants a fish she will start calling -  cheep, cheep, cheep - ever more frantically if the male doesn't fast leave enough. Eventually the male will go off, catch a fish, and return, and as he comes into his mate's view she will again start calling - cheep, cheep, cheep. After he lands on the nest, she will continue to call until he gives up the fish and she eats.

The female Osprey seems pleased with the fish that her mate brought back to the nest.
By bringing his mate fish the male is also demonstrating that he will be a good provider for the chicks when they hatch and need ever increasing amounts of fish as they grow. If the nest is successful three chicks can eat up to 60 pounds a day before they fledge.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

More about telling male and female Ospreys apart

Female Osprey (L) has a streaked breast. Male (R) has an almost clear breast.
The difference between the female Osprey's breast marking and the male's relative lack of breast marking is clear in this image from the Osprey cam.

If you are watching the nest cam and cannot see the breast of the Ospreys, these two have another distinguishing feature. The male has a distinctive partial eye ring that breaks up the dark eye stripe behind the eye. The female's eye ring is narrower and in some views almost invisible.

The male's partial eye ring is more pronounced than the female's.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nest building

The first task for Ospreys returning to their nest site is to repair and improve the nest. In addition to making a better nest the activity reestablishes the bond between the pair.

Before our volunteers installed the camera the old nest and platform were replaced with a new platform better able to support the camera. As with all of the other Osprey platforms we've replaced a small amount of grass and sticks were added as starter material.

A Belted Kingfisher visited the nest platform before the Ospreys returned.
The starter nest material didn't cover the wire mesh.
After the Ospreys returned on Saturday, March 26, they started building a proper nest. By Monday, March 28, they had made great progress.

The Ospreys made a lot of progress in two days.

How to tell male and female Ospreys apart

Just added a screen capture from the nest with male and female Osprey labelled.

The Audubon Shop posted this about the Osprey this morning

Concerning Osprey: "Within populations, females average about 15–20% larger in body mass than males, and 5–10% longer in wing, tail, claw, and bill length. In addition, females tend to have fuller, darker breast-bands and darker heads than males, although this varies among populations." (excerpt from an article by Alan F. Poole)

Generally people look for what is referred to as the "necklace" of darker feathers on the breast of the female as an easy way to distinguish them.


Since we love contests.  Pat W. suggested we offer  a contest to the first person who sees the male offer his fish to the female...thereby re-establishing their relationship after the long winter's absence.   So again if you see that happen, snap a screenshot orsend us the date/time and we can find it and you will win an Audubon tote.

You can send comments and questions and we will share them.

Welcome to the Menunkatuck Osprey camera blog


We've started this blog to document the activity at the Osprey nest where we installed a video camera. The platform is in the West River Memorial Park near the Barnard Nature Center in New Haven.

The camera was installed in February and March 2016 just in time for the March 26 return of the Osprey pair that has nested on the platform for several years.

The volunteers after the installation of the video camera.
The camera is powered by a solar panel with battery backup. A wireless connection to the Nature Center gets the video signal to the Internet.

Funding for Menunkatuck's Osprey camera were provided by a grant from the Watershed Fund and by contributions from our members and friends.

Thanks for the cooperation of the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees, the New Haven Board of Education, Barnard Nature Center, and Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School.