[Bristol-Birds] Osprey returns to stopover site on South Fork Holston River

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2012 20:38:55 -0400

Riverside Road
South Fork Holston River
Sullivan Co., TN
7 April 2012

"Osprey One" has again arrived at my monitoring area along Riverside
Road. I have been checking the site two to three days a week
for a couple of weeks and it has not been there earlier, including
another day this week.

Wilma Boy, Lois Cox and Carolyn Coffey were present.

It has been at the site in the same tree by mid-April for the 
past three years.  The earliest date for an Osprey here is
21 Mar 2011.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with early
dates of Ospreys seen in NET because this particular hawk 
has its own migratory clock.

Here, he will stay about a month, apparently without nesting. 
It has returned to the same tree to use the same perch in 
 2009, 2010, 2011 and now 2012.

This most loyal bird uses a perch near the islands north of 
Rockhold church.  However, one or two other birds rest briefly 
and hunt a nearby stretch up and down the river from the perch 
used by "Osprey One". 

It is thought to be in its fourth calendar year of life.  It is believed
that the average age of first breeding is three but there have been 
one and two-year-old birds found nesting in some studies. It is 
extremely rare for a one-year-old Osprey to breed. 

Many Osprey breed and nest within a few miles of where they were 

Many migrate to South America to winter. Osprey winter in Venezuela, 
Columbia, Brazil at the north fringe of the Amazon River basin and in 
the Caribbean area. 

So far, there seems to be slim expectation and no evidence
these birds nest along the river.  But monitoring for a nest site has 
been regular each year during the weeks birds are present.

I have had communications with Osprey researchers working out 
of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

They tell me this migratory behavior and tree/perch fidelity along
the South Fork Holston River at this location appears to be an
established migratory stopover site. It seems they are probably 
taking on a bit more food. Evidently, both males and females do this. 
Transmitter-tracked birds are known to stop for extended periods of 
migratory stopover during their northern migration.

Let's go birding . . .

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

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