Osprey 61: The Photo You Were Not Supposed To See

Osprey 61: One of many photos I vowed to never show you
Osprey 61: One of many photos I vowed to never show you.

Several weeks back, while out on an Osprey Banding Mission with Ben Wurst The Osprey Hero, we stopped to check a nest out back of High Bar Harbor in Barnegat Bay. Despite the fact that it was a sad, little nest on a tiny platform that had failed to ever produce any young, several nearby humanz loved to watch the Osprey couple that called it home. These fine folks are true Citizen Osprey Heroes, diligently monitoring activity at the nest, and befriending the Osprey couple that live there. In fact, thanks to said diligence, it was brought to Ben’s attention that the nest platform lacked a Predator Guard… a baffle to keep Raccoons out of it. Raccoons love to nom nom Osprey eggs and occasionally, itty-bitty Osprey.

Papa comes home to the little nest with the flashy new Predator Guard on the main post.
Papa comes home to the little nest with the flashy new Predator Guard on the main post.

With the newly Raccoon-proofed platform in place this season, friends and neighbors were watching the nest as religiously as some watch the HBO Sunday Night line-up, and soon suspected there might be a chick inside. Climbing up the ladder, we were happy to find a single, tiny chick loafing deep in the nest.

But on closer inspection, things looked a bit grim. As you can see in the opening photo, the poor chick looked quite sickly. It was difficult to head back and report the findings to the nest’s human fans across the Bay. One nice couple asked me to post a photo of it to Readings From The Northside so they could see their little angel, but upon seeing the photo in glorious high resolution, I decided to scrap that idea completely and just pretend the whole thing never happened. It was just too sad.

But Ben never forgot about our sick little friend, so decided to check up on him at sunrise.
But Ben never forgot about our sick little friend, so decided to check up on him at sunrise.
Ben was thrilled to find the chick looking much larger
Ben was thrilled to find the chick looking much larger…
So gently grabbed him
And stronger…
And brought him down from the nest
So gently grabbed him and brought him down from the nest.
Well, well. Look what we have here. It turns out our little friend is doing just fine, so has become the 61st Osprey successfully banded in Barnegat Bay as part of Project Red Band  on Barnegat Bay.
Well, well. Look what we have here. It turns out our little friend is doing just fine, so has become the 61st Osprey successfully banded in Barnegat Bay as part of Project Red Band on Barnegat Bay.

Every successful nest on Barnegat Bay is a huge victory for our Island. Ben of The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has spent the past few months doing everything he can to help each nest be a success. But despite his seemingly boundless energy,  he can’t be everywhere all the time and relies on Citizen Heroes to take responsibility for their local wildlife, just like the good folks at High Bar Harbor are doing each season.

Citizen Osprey Hero Bob Simmons poses with Ben Wurst of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ
Citizen Osprey Hero Bob Simmons of High Bar Harbor poses with Ben Wurst of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. Thanks Bob!
Osprey 61. A happy ending.
Osprey 61. A happy ending.