Safely Arrived in Cuba

Coley has made it from Jamaica Bay to Cuba, over 1,350 miles, in just six days of flying.  He flew the last 80 or so miles in the dark over the Straits of Florida, hitting land about 30 miles east of Havana. By late Sunday night he had settled in central Cuba, about 100 miles further east, after a fairly short day of migration.

Here are some details of his travels for the last three days of his journey:

September 14 – A fairly easy day for Coley heading south through Florida about 120 miles, passing on the east side of Lake Okeechobee and reaching a cypress hammock in the Everglades about 5 miles south of Alligator Alley (I-75) at 7pm.

September 15 – Big day for Coley – about 18 hours of travel.  On the move again shortly after 6am, probably caught a fish and then spent a few hours resting/eating before continuing south.  By 3pm he was over Florida Bay and by 4pm he was 3.5 miles southwest of Islamorada and Upper Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys, beginning his non-stop flight into the night across the Straits of Florida to the north shore of Cuba.  He made the 140 mile crossing in just under eight hours. At least 4 hours of that flight was in the dark.  If you look at the map of his crossing, you can see he drifted westerly as he headed south, apparently by the prevailing winds that evening coming from the east.

September 16 – Our first data point this morning was about 30 miles east of Havana and about 3 miles east of the town of Santa Cruz del Norte on the north shore of Cuba. Sometime after 9am Coley took flight heading south for an hour, and then turned southeast and stayed basically in that direction for the rest of the day.  Flying east/southeast along the middle of Cuba seems to be a favorite flight path of migrating Ospreys, as both of our Nantucket birds, Mr. Hannah and Señor Bones, have followed similar paths through Cuba.

September 17 – Just a few data points for this morning, more on this day in the next report.

I am happy to recognize that one of our followers, Scott Wilson, predicted that Coley would reach Cape Canaveral by September 13.  Scott was close: Coley was only 50 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral when he stopped on the 13th.  Now we will see if Scott’s prediction of September 25 for Coley reaching his wintering grounds will be correct.

Coley and Dr. Bob Signing off.

Bull’s eyes = Osprey’s location every hour.
Lines = Sequence of locations in time (not the actual flight path)

Click the Sat(ellite), Ter(rain) or Earth buttons on the map for alternate views. The Earth view requires you to have the free Google Earth software on your computer. For a larger map, go to Google Maps or download the KML file to view in your copy of Google Earth.


  1. Go Coley go!

  2. Hola Havana!

  3. Is he alone? Where in Havana? What is projected length of stay? Will he return to New York, do we know how old he is?

  4. Hi Dorothea. According to Dr. Kennedy, Ospreys do migrate alone and return to the same summer nesting grounds each year, so we can expect to see Coley again in Jamaica Bay. We’re not sure how old he is or where he’ll end up for the winter, but our guess is that he isn’t quite finished his migration yet. Stay tuned!

  5. So glad that everything so far has gone well. Thank you for your work and your updates.

  6. Do Ospreys learn the routes by following other Ospreys? It seems like Coley knew approximately where Cuba was when he set out from Florida. How do the fledglings choose a route?

  7. I wondered if he eats every day during his trip–there’s only 1 mention of a meal. Also, does he stay airborne all day until stopping for the night? Is it known if he is at least 1 year old, i.e., he’s has done both fall and spring migration at least once before? Is that possibly how he seemed to know to take it easy the day before crossing over to Cuba? Gee, maybe I should just get a book about ospreys.

  8. Thank you for your answers. My husband and I have always been great fans of the Osprey and the Eagles. We have many Eagle sculptures in our home. One day we hope to find a nice one of an Osprey, with wings extended, that is affordable. It is so gratifying, to know there are dedicated humans, who recognize the the other species who share our Blue Planet. Keep up the good work. I am sharing all this with our seven adult Grandchildren, who we have made aware of these wonderful Birds.

  9. Mr. Savage asks: how do they know the route? It’s just one of those many wonders of nature!

  10. Great questions Timothy and Peggy! I’m going let Dr. Kennedy field those, and we’ll get back to you soon.

  11. I wonder where the female migrates to?