An Osprey’s Peregrinations

Back in February I attempted to steer you, the reader, towards a web site that follows the travels of a select group of radio-tagged Ospreys as they headed south in the fall of 2010 from their fledging sites here in North America. At the time, I had followed the route of an Osprey named Belle from her birthplace on Marth’s Vineyard to a reservoir in Rondonia, Brazil where she settled in for the duration. She’s still there and won’t return till next spring.

Young Ospreys spend the first few months of their lives learning how to be Ospreys, exploring areas around their homes perfecting the art of catching fish and hopefully, just staying alive in today’s world full of people and their activities. When fall arrives, they head south. They typically don’t get as far as Belle did in their southern migrations but most do end up somewhere in South America, although some only get as far as the Bahamas. They stay south for about 18 months, not returning north until their second spring, usually to the area of their birth.

On Belle’s journey south last fall she came within forty some miles of another radio-tagged Osprey as she passed through Venezuela. His name is Buck. Buck was hatched in 2009 along the Catawba River just to the south of us in South Carolina. Buck headed south in September of 2009 after spending some time in Tennessee learning his trade. He ended up in Venezuela on the shores of Lake Maracaibo where he’d been for the last year and a half.

At just about two years old, Buck is currently (as of July) back on his home turf, sort of. He first flew past his home state of South Carolina back in April when he made landfall at Cape Fear here in North Carolina. He then winged it as far north as New Hampshire, tooling around a bit (a lot) in all the states in between. He seems to have finally settled in Tennessee, the place he spent so much time before he initially migrated south.

But don’t take my word for it, witness Buck’s travels here where you can see satellite images of his trek. It’s much more interesting to follow these birds through satellite images rather than simply reading my description of where they’ve been and how they got there. And besides, the images are accompanied by a narrative full of adventure and intrigue, so if you like reading as well as looking at maps, you can do both. Buck’s journey home is an honest-to-goodness, edge of your seat nail-biter. Check it out.

Have fun!

Note: When you get to Buck’s page (link above) you’ll see this statement “Scroll down to follow all his movement in 2001” on the bottom right of the first image that you see. This is obviously a typo. It should say “Scroll down to follow all his movement in 2011.”

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