Here is a snapshot I took this morning off the live cam of an osprey nest on Hog Island in Maine. Yesterday I watched two ospreys fly over our farm. I have never seen these birds in our area although there is an established nest about seven miles from us near the Kennebec River in Benton.
It was the loud, seabird-like call that first got my attention. Ospreys are very large birds that form a distinctive M shape with their wings as they fly. The pair I watched soared with the thermals over our farm for about ten minutes before sliding off below the horizon. They made a lot of noise as they flew.
Ospreys were nearly wiped out in New England by the use of DDT. The insecticide got into the food chain and concentrated in the bodies of the big predators at the top of the chain such as the hawks and eagles. DDT causes egg shells to thin to such a degree that they crack during incubation. The birds are unable to reproduce. Since the banning of DDT in the US, osprey and bald eagle populations have made a comeback. It is no longer as rare to spot these birds, especially bald eagles.
Ospreys incubate their eggs for 40 days with the pair sharing incubation duty, although the male tends to do more food bringing to the female on the nest. There is also a nice osprey nest to watch on Osprey Island at Wolf Neck Woods State Park here in Maine. Here is a shot I took last year of the island. The nest is at the top of the scraggly pine near the center of the island.
Here is a link to a page where they have recorded the sound an osprey makes: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Osprey/id
The recording is in the link below the silhouette of a hawk, right where it says “typical voice.” Or click on the “Sounds” tab to hear various calls.
Here is the link to the live web cam of the nesting ospreys on Hog island:
Caution–watching the ospreys can become addicting!