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Capt. Mac's- High Risk
Osprey Nest Platform
Nest Location Description:
New 2018 osprey nesting platform edge of marsh behind Capt. Mac's Seafood House, Rt 54, Fenwick Island
Nest Cam URL:
Delaware Fish and Wildlife
Show reports, diaries, and photos from:
2018 Nest Activity Report by
First chick fledging
Chicks last observed
Reason for nest failure
2019 Nest Activity Report by
First chick fledging
Chicks last observed
Reason for nest failure
Photos of this nest
purple ribbon and other strands of some material in the nest. adult male brought a fish and of the 2 fledglings on the nest, the smaller one got it but there was some squabbling. the one eating the fish was standing in the purple ribbon, i hope none get caught in it. 3rd fledge was out on a pole in the marsh, did not see second adult
3 chicks have fledged, 2 are on the empty platform at the windows of lobster shanty, and one trapped on 3rd floor condo deck, perched behind a glass partition. no one seemed to notice it from the bar and restaurant, i was able to get homeowner to allow me to wrap the fledgling in a towel and take it down to the marsh where it flew back to the platform. this nest site is incredibly dangerous for the osprey. i wish fish and wildlife would make them remove both platforms, the unused one and Capt Macs, this sets a terrible example: commercializing osprey.
3 chicks that all look to be same size
90 degree temps today, female shading at nest, male on fave pole
one deep in nest, did not see mate today
just one osprey incubating at nest, did not see second today, deck had a few people eating
male out on fave sign and female deep in nest, thankfully the business is not yet open.....
female deep in nest, male on nest perch, business does not appear to be open ...yet....
lots of trash in the nest, female on nest and male on favorite sign perch farther out in the marsh
some plastic bag debris hanging off nest, female on nest, male out on his fave sign post, lots of maintenance activity at the restaurant, opening day is April 10. poor osprey
female osprey on the nest at 5 pm today
I am calling it a season for this nest site as I have not seen any activity although there may well be an adult male nearby during non business hours. Or even a random juvenile may be needing help from papa but they are smart enough to stay away from the deck. I surely hope osprey nests as commercial business lures are not a looming trend along the waterways of Delmarva. There isn't anyone minding this issue that I can see. Fish and Wildlife could pay attention to this possible trend?....
passed by today and saw no osprey on the nest or out in the marsh area.
Stopped by the restaurant today at 4:30 and just one juvenile was present on the platform perch, it was facing out to the water. I did not see any other osprey.
I stop by briefly to check on the 2 fledglings. They are usually on the nest or roofs without the parents close by, the parents stay out on the pvc pipes and sign posts as the restaurant deck is always busy. Whenever I do stop people always want to ask me about the birds and I have not seen any update to the blackboard on the deck which still reads"first chick hatched 5-29". I hope the owners learn more about osprey for next season.
late evening, 8 pm visit to see night time behavior at this nest. one chick was visible just at the top of the nest line, it was laying down, i could not see the second. both adults were out on the marsh, one on the sign post and one on a jutting piece of wood. i returned just after 9 pm and finally saw an adult, i will assume the female, on the platform perch. this is the first time i have seen her use the perch, something most adult females do most of each day during the later nesting season. if this female does use it i bet it is early in the morning before the business opens. the second visit past 9 pm also showed both chicks now up on the nest and it appeared they were eating. unusual to be fed so late but again with so much disturbance on the dining deck this family may do things differently. i will need to check back this week to confirm fledgling as these chicks are due to fly. there is now a commercial running on see.local tv advertising this business osprey pair, named johnny cash and june carter. did they name the chicks, did they name the smallest chick that did not make it? of over 30 nest sites with a third smaller chick in the nest past 3 weeks, only 2 did not live and both were on nests critically close to restaurants. i sure hope this is not becoming a trend. "osprey as entertainment"
1:15, 79, NE 8mph, sunshine- no adult male in sight for my entire visit. I spent over 45 minutes observing the nest. adult female with very light chest markings off and on the nest, 2 growing chicks on the east side of the nest rim. no 3rd chick seen. i keep hoping it made it but not likely now. adult female flew off nest and spent the rest of my visit out flying over the marsh. i did not see any feeding.chicks should fly soon and i am concerned about the power lines close to the nesting platform as that may be an easy landing spot for the youngsters. hopefully they can learn to maneuver over the lines and use the trees across Rt 54, or the roofs of the 3 restaurants. they will need to return to the nest to rest and get fed for about 3 weeks after flight, so as with the Dewey beach bar nest, they could be too stressed to use the nest once they have freedom.
Notes on this nest- platform could benefit from corner boards as the nest material is collapsing over the sides. Braces under platform needed for longevity and a 400 + lb nest in years to come. Pole needs a predator guard. T perch would not hold up over the years as it is a snag branch. Adult female has a very light colored and patterned necklace with sparse flecking high up on the neck. Very pretty markings. It would be wonderful if the platform was moved out to the far marsh, but I won't hold my breath for that.
3:20 pm today, I spent an hour watching this nest site. When I arrived, it was warm, 81, hazy sun, West wind, 9mph, good vis. The restaurant deck had 2 tables of diners. The owner came and went to their tables talking repeatedly about his osprey and gesturing out to the nest. At my arrival there was no adult female on the nest to shade the chicks. The male was out on his usual sign perch that is a very safe distance from the nest platform and restaurant. He did not have a fish. I did not see the adult female anywhere in the general marsh area. There were 2 visible chicks, positioned on far ends of the nest, one was very close to the rim, I assume trying to catch the breeze as it was panting with its bill open. On the other end a head popped up from time to time. I did not see the runt my entire visit. I think it may have died. Approx 20 minutes later the adult female flew to the nest. She looked somewhat wet, her chest was wet, she was carrying a partially eaten fish. As she arrived to the nest rim opposite the restaurant, she faced the deck warily and began eating. The osprey chick that was mostly hidden quickly made it in front of her and she fed him the largest amount of fish. The chick that was panting was not in the best position to be fed but seemed to try to get under her for shade. That chick received only a few pieces of fish. The adult female mostly fed the other chick and she herself ate a large amount of the fish. Once she was finished ( ate the tail) the well fed chick went back to the opposite side of the nest and the hardly fed chick dropped down where it was before her arrival. The female cleaned her bill on some sticks and then just stood and looked at the deck of the restaurant. She did not attempt to shade either chick.The adult male remained far out on his sign perch. I did not see the third small chick and doubt it is in the nest now. I do not know if the adult female caught the fish she brought but in my 6 years monitoring experience it is unusual for an adult female to be bringing fish to a nest when chicks are 4 weeks old, at the oldest 5 weeks. Its not unusual for the female to leave the nest for short periods when chicks are this age but I know that one of 2 things is happening, either the male is not catching enough fish, or he is not bringing enough fish to the nest due to the stress of human disturbance. This is a catching fish or bringing fish shortage. I have rarely seen the male at the nest during my visits and this is not generally the case at my many other nest sites. Often an adult male will bring whole fish, hang around awhile and then leave and get another fish that they will eat part of and bring that fish to the nest also. This is the sign of a mature and happy male osprey..... In my humble experience. Time will tell how these 2 remaining chicks do, especially once they fledge. Will they be fed properly by the adults for the first few weeks of their flying life, and if so where will that feeding take place?
New sign out front today. "Fly on in". It was hot and humid, 84, SSE winds at 6 mph, hazy sun. Female was on the nest shading what first appeared to be 2 chicks but I briefly saw a third so I waited patiently and soon I saw a tiny runt. And I mean tiny. It was half the size of the other 2 osprey. I stayed over 30 minutes but did not see the male arrive with a fish. There were 3 full tables of diners on the deck. My feeling is either the male is not bringing enough fish, he may be young, or he is bringing fish but eating more of it for himself as I mentioned in a prior post, or the female is too stressed to finish her meal and feeding due to human disturbance on the deck. Its probably more the later.The time just before Sunset is a critical time for osprey to feed their young and I know the deck gets very crowded at that time. Obviously the runt is not getting fed enough. I have seen many runts but none this tiny next to 2 other nestlings. There was some very loud hammering coming from an area behind the deck and the female osprey was fidgeting and craning her neck toward the deck. She flew off and came back with a large piece of seaweed to cool the nestlings. Every visit at this nest site I noticed the female was off and on the nest more than I normally see during incubation and with very young chicks. She is always craning her neck to see what is happening on the deck. I spoke with the owner of the business who did not know there were 3 chicks in the nest and did not know there is a runt. He said " they are great". I guess they ARE great at bringing in business. This is really sad to see osprey used for advertising in this way. I explained about the runt and he said its just nature. I said there isnt anything natural about a nest site being so close to a rowdy restaurant dining deck. I told him it was critical that the female be able to remain at the nest to feed every time the male brings fish. He said the "male brings lots of fish." If he didnt know how many chicks were in the nest I doubt he would know if the male was providing. What a sad situation to see osprey used in this way. I just pray the runt doesn't suffer but with hot days upon us it wont be an easy road for that little one. The sadder thing is the business owner wont even know if it dies.
I returned at 2 pm today to observe the nesting pair during a quieter time of the restaurant and after about 35 minutes the male brought a partially eaten fish to the nest and the female ate ravenously for a few minutes and then she indeed was feeding at least one chick but I could not actually see it. The deck started to fill up with noisy diners again around 3:30 pm but the male was on the nest with the female when I left.With such young chicks it seems unusual for the male to not bring an entire fish for the female but perhaps he is a younger male. I often observe the older established males bring a whole fish for female and young then go get a second for themselves...
The "Come SEE our Osprey" sign is down out front of this seafood house. Something seems off with this nesting pair. Today I arrived to see the female flying around the area attempting to pick up some pine branch debris from the marsh. She did carry a few pieces back to the nest and placed them in the middle of the nest. The male was perched on the nest also. Both osprey were very skittish and flying off and on the nest, walking into the middle of the nest bowl. There was a large number of people eating on the very close-by noisy deck and some people with toddlers were yelling on the ramp up to the deck. My first reaction was the nest has failed. The spreys flew off and on the nest for a few minutes then both left the nest with the male flying out to his fave sign post and the female leaving the area and the nest unattended. This is very unusual for a nest that would have eggs or hatchlings. About 5 minutes later the female returned, appeared to eat ravenously for a few minutes, with no feeding of hatchlings evident,then she fussed with some large pieces of nest material and then settled down again deep in the nest bowl. She remained there for about 45 minutes. The male flew away. This was around 6:30 pm. At sunset, as we were leaving a nearby restaurant, the male arrived, chased off another osprey and went to his sign perch. The female was up and down in the nest digging as if to turn eggs. I saw no behavior that showed signs of hatchlings and she would be about 47 days of incubation...so either I am way off or she is on un-viable eggs, or she has a hatchling that is fending for itself.. I will have to recheck this site in next few days but for now I feel this nesting has failed. The restaurant 2 doors down also has erected an osprey platform, it must be about 250 feet from the Capt Macs platform (too close as i feared might happen) but it is empty of course and the workers said DNR asked them to remove it. It is very close to their dining rm windows. This is a sad example of people not doing research before inviting the magnificent osprey to nest near their place of business. I will definitely watch and continue to report on this site as it is a prime example of unchecked osprey platform placement. This platform should be removed. This osprey pair and their future offspring are at risk.
I am seeing hatching behavior from the female, very fussy and busy in the nest, but I have not seen her feeding. When I visit the male is not in site or I have seen him flying toward the north across Rt 54. The nest is very high which gives the female much cover that she will need to feed and care for her hatchlings nesting so close to the restaurant deck. What is concerning is the large street sign out front "Come See OUR Osprey". With the nesting platform so close to the trash bins, deck ramp with bar seats and sometimes busy dining deck the last thing the adult osprey need is more attention on them. I can only hope they are not so stressed as to not be able to bring fish to the nest in numbers large enough to feed their young properly. Osprey are not zoo animals. This nest site reminds me of a nest platform in Dewey Beach that is close to a bar. It was no wonder then when Last season the osprey family abandoned the nest as soon as the chicks fledged. They moved to a water tower and unfortunately the fledglings were not getting fed regularly. We do not know if the young female survived. The adult female migrated quickly leaving the male to feed 2 youngsters and after just a few days we only saw the young male at the water tower. Young flying osprey need about 3 weeks to be fed before they can be left alone. Human activity like we are seeing at this nest site is very concerning for the safety of the chicks.
pair continues to incubate. I expect first hatchling sometime after may 24th. Today the female was deep in the nest and the male was patrolling the marsh and waterway near the nest and then he settled out on the white pipe at the far waters edge, one of his favorite perch sites.
one incubating and one flying over platform area then out to water
My dates for this new platform may not be exact but these are the dates I was at the site. The platform is very close to the outside eating area and ramp. So far the pair is incubating and only showing minimal stress to human activity. Dogs and people sitting at the outside ramp/bar stools may be problematic as the season's crowds arrive. Fingers crossed this pair can nest peacefully.