As we experience the full brunt of Winter in the Northeast, with record low temperatures and snowfall measured in feet, not inches, Coley II (C2) continues to thrive and survive in his little corner of Lake Valencia in Venezuela.As I watch the American Goldfinches, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice flock to the bird feeders at my house in New Hampshire, where temperatures have gone as low as minus 12 degrees F and wind chill, 10 degrees below that, I marvel at how birds survive these conditions. They manage through the near perfect insulation of feathers and physiological mechanisms and morphological features that keep them warm even on the coldest days. And of course, their food source is available to them. But the northern range of their species is modified every year and, ultimately, many birds do not survive. For example, Barn Owls living in Jamaica Bay are fairly close to their northern range (which tends to be Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard) and this winter will be particularly hard for them. If the winter continues as it has the last few weeks, Barn Owl numbers will drop considerably, as these birds are not equipped with the right biological features to survive the cold or to hunt when snow covers the ground for prolonged periods.
Back to warm Venezuela and C2. In about six or seven weeks or near the end of February, C2 will have put on fat, his body will be restless, and when the right (but not clearly known) environmental cues are present, he will head north hopefully to find winter over.
I have attached a Google Earth map of his activities from December 14 until January 4th in his small corner of Lake Valencia. It is a sizable lake about 20 miles long and 10 miles wide, or about the size of Long Island Sound from Stamford to Bridgeport, CT.
Please feel free to send me any questions that you may have about Ospreys and particularly about C2 and the other Ospreys from New York City/Jamaica Bay.
C2 and Dr. Bob signing off,
Bulls 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.