By Mike Busch
For many people, including me, the annual return of these beautiful and fascinating birds is a more important sign of Spring than the calendar.
Last Monday, Long Island Wildlife member Pamela Bracken Morrison checked in with the first Osprey sighting of the year with the photo below taken in Southampton.
A few more reports and photos have appeared since but rest assured as you read this, hundreds if not thousands of Osprey have left or about to leave their wintering grounds in South America to return to Long Island or migrate through to New England.
Here a few factoids about their migration:
-Ospreys may migrate 160,000 miles over their 15-20 year lifetime.
-Ospreys mate for life but travel back and forth to the wintering grounds alone and on different schedules and don’t spend the winters together. They just meet up at the same nest in the Spring.
-They typically take between 20 or 30 days to travel the roughly 3000 miles between here and South America.
-They often follow the same route exactly and often stop to rest in the same locations.
-Young Osprey leave on their own and find their own way down to the wintering grounds and wait until the following year to come back North.
-The young will return to the same general area of their birth ( within 100 miles or so) but chances are they never see their parents again.
As we wait for the rest of the local nests to fill up I asked members of Long Island Wildlife to post some of their favorite images from years past to set the benchmark for this years photos. As I watch members improve their skills and equipment I am expecting more amazing shots over the next several weeks as the skies fill up with these hungry predators.
Take a few minutes and scroll through all 5 pages of specatucular images of Long Island Osprey!