Audubon Osprey Nest
Ospreys are the only birds of prey that rely almost entirely on fish, so they nest and raise their chicks near water. They return to Hog Island each year in early April after wintering in South America.
The Hog Island ospreys laid the first of their three eggs on April 26, and incubation time is 35-42 days. The female (recognized by the heavy striped pattern on her breast) does most of the incubation and the male often feeds her at the nest.
After the eggs hatch, the parents brood the chicks, protecting them from extreme weather and predators. They are very diligent parents, never leaving the chicks unprotected - even at night when Great Horned Owls might threaten the chicks. The parents are great providers of fish, hovering 30-100 feet above the sea, before plunging feet first under water, snagging the fish with their sharp talons. About fifty days after hatching, the young start exercising their wings in the nest and take their first practice flights from the nest. In early September, the young will begin their solo journey From Maine south along the Atlantic Flyway, passing through the Caribbean to winter in South America as far south as Chile.