Where Do Ospreys Go in the Winter?

While southern birds are often year-round residents, tracking data for one northern Osprey shows how extensive their migratory travels can be.

This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of the National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.

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Ospreys nest in spring and summer throughout much of North America. Watch for them along rivers, lakes, bays, and coastlines. Most are migratory, heading south in September. Ospreys may log more than 160,000 air miles over a lifetime. Thanks to miniature satellite transmitters, we know a lot more about their travels.

One female Osprey, which researchers named Penelope, started south — alone — in early September from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. She paused in coastal Maryland and North Carolina for a few days, then flew directly over the Atlantic from the Outer Banks to the Bahamas. The crossing took her more than 24 hours.

But she wasn’t done yet. For the next several days, Penelope hopped islands in the Bahamas and paused in the nearby Dominican Republic. Then she set out on another day-long flight, taking her to the Island of Birds, off the Venezuelan coast. At this point she had already covered nearly 3,000 miles. After a side trip to the Amazon, Penelope spent the winter on a remote jungle river in Suriname. Watch for Ospreys next spring, nesting near you.

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
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Producer: John Kessler

Managing Producer: Jason Saul

Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone

Written by Bob Sundstrom

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 106650 recorded by Randolph S. Little.

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org  

September  2017   ID# OSPR-05-2017-09-11OSPR-05