C2 Adrift at Sea

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I do not know if I have bad news or really bad news. C2 headed south from the southern tip of the Dominican Republic at Cabo (Cape) Beata after 10 am on Sunday the 28th. He flew steadily for over 25 hours covering over 450 miles of his Caribbean crossing. At noon on Sept 29th he was just 13 miles from the north shore of Colombia, South America. Land was in sight and he was almost to a resting place. Sometime around 12:30 pm something happened that at this point I cannot determine, but clearly he stopped flying. Ospreys cannot land or rest on the water. Unlike ducks, their feathers are not waterproof so they cannot stay on the water for more than a few minutes before their feathers are waterlogged and they cannot fly.

From 1:00 pm on the 29th until 10 pm on September 30th, our last data point, C2 has not flown. The data shows a drift pattern first to the south and then to the northwest. It does not look good. He is either gone, floating on the surface with his back and thus with the transmitter to the sky –- that would be the really bad news or he has landed on a raft of floating vegetation and getting some much needed rest before he makes the short flight to the mainland. In any event, he has been adrift for 33 hours.

We know from our research with other satellite tagged Ospreys that the most dangerous part of their migration is the trans Caribbean Crossing. Each year dozens of Ospreys do not successfully make this crossing. There were no distinctive storms or weather patterns that could have hindered his crossing. It looks like he simply ran out of gas before reaching the filling station.

I have not given up on him yet. Many land birds rest on floating vegetation or on ships during long overwater crossings during migration. So I am hoping that he is just resting and that the next data download will show him back in action.

Sorry for the bad news.

C2 and Dr. Bob signing off – for the moment.


Bulls eyes = Osprey’s location every hour.
Lines = Sequence of locations in time (not the actual flight path)
Times in the data points are Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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  1. OH No! I am so impressed by everything I have learned from both Coley and C2, I will be heartbroken if something tragic has happened to him. Please keep us posted.

  2.  Im choosing to believe that he is happily afloat and resting. Hoping the best for our much loved C2.
  3.  Could it be the transmitter has failed and that C2 is ok? But how would we know? Im betting he is resting and we will hear from him again.
  4.  This does look like sad news. I wonder if it may be another example of an osprey being mobbed and brought down by gulls as he approached the coast?

    A tired osprey as C2 obviously was might just succumb to being mobbed as he was so near to safety.

  5.  Hope for the best.
  6.  I am not giving up hope and not giving up on C2. Thank you Dr. Bob for all you do for our favorite ospreys.
  7.  Upsetting to say the leastSo many hours!
  8.  I am crossing my fingers and toes that C2 is just resting on a boat. But it doesnt sound good. Please keep us updated. I hope C2 resurfaces soon. :(
  9.  Is it possible the transmitter became detached, I wonder? (Amazing the lengths we go to in order to keep the faith)
  10.  C2 such along flight and almost to his destination.

    Keeping the faith.
    Bob, thank you for the updates and dedication.

  11.  Hoping for the best. Have followed this nest for two seasons. Thanks for all your great work with the ospreys!
  12.  In answer to the question of whether the transmitter could have fallen off, Dr. Bob says its unlikely, as the transmitter would have sunk in the water.
  13.  Thanks for that answer re the transmitter. I, like everyone else, was hoping that it could be floating on its own and that C2 was home again.