Welcome to OWSEM.ORG

Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan (OWSEM) is a volunteer organization.  Our goals are to help the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in their efforts to restore the Osprey to Southern Michigan and to educate the public about this very special raptor.

Learn more about OWSEM, our mission, and how you can help Ospreys in Southeastern Michigan!



Indy and Sparky really have amazing case of Zugunruhe, whilst Leroy is enjoying his stay at Doral Country and Golf Club.

If you have a sighting you’d like to report, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to contact us.

The Sightings Map was updated as of 05 September to show where this year’s Osprey sightings and nests were.

Thanks for all your ongoing support and assistance with reports and fine photographs!

Maurice saw that “Mother Osprey brought the fish to the nest, where ‘Indy’ and his sister were sitting.  As you can see, ‘Indy’s’ head is down as the sister took the fish and headed to the trees.”  His report is from 17 August 2013.

Maurice W Sanders photo, used with permission

06 October 2013

From Barb Jensen comes these notes on our three transmitter-bearing Ospreys:

Congrats to Indy!!  On 03 October, our Kensington Metropark Osprey arrived in South America!  Indy's migration began on 13 September.  He flew from Michigan to Cuba, then on to Haiti and the Dominican Republic before broad jumping across the Caribbean Sea and landing in Colombia. He didn't remain there long, though, as he is now in Venezuela. Whew, what a trip.  This young Osprey's wings did some serious flapping during the past 24 days.  Here is one bird that has earned some serious R and R.

It appears that Leroy has been enjoying his R and R prior to leaving the USA for his wintering grounds. The last data tracking info showed him still hanging out near the Doral Country Club in Southeast Florida.  He has traveled extensively back and forth throughout the Miami area during the past few weeks.

Sparky moved on to the Florida Keys.  From there he took a giant leap over the Straits of Florida and into western Cuba. Will he follow Indy's map from there?  He surprised us before by altering what we thought were his flight plans so it's a "wait and see" situation for us.

Safe journeys, our feathered friends!!

Jim Kortge came up with this interesting “rough calculation of the distance Indy flew crossing the Caribbean Sea a few days ago.  Looks to me to be about 550 miles and he completed it in about 24 hours, non-stop.  Quite amazing!  No wonder Ospreys perish doing that, even with experience.  I was thinking it was more like 300 miles, not twice that.” Jim said he did this calculation by “using the GPS coordinates at the beginning and end of the  crossing and plugging those numbers into one of the online distance  calculators.  It showed about 500 miles, and I added another 50 miles to that value since he didn't fly a straight line.  I'm still probably off (low) from what he actually flew, probably closer to 600 miles.  I'm sure on his return trip back to us he will figure out a more efficient route.  Well hopefully, he will.”  Jim further noted, “I see this morning that Sparky made the jump to Cuba, going across the  shortest route, but still that is a 90+ mile flight.”

29 September 2013

Kent Jeppesen submitted this Osprey sighting to the UMICH Birders List: “For the last several days, there has been an Osprey fishing over the River Raisin in Monroe.  It sits on a phone cable that [spans] the river just east of the Macomb Street Bridge.” Kent also commented that he had spoken “a gentleman who works in [an] adjacent office building, and he told me that there [are] actually two, and both were there last week.”

At around this time, Susan Crispin wrote in to OWSEM to report “I live on the River Raisin in Monroe and have 4 Ospreys that have been fishing and hanging around my area. I first started seeing them around the third week of September.  I cannot tell if they are banded, but they have the typical markings of an Osprey. White underneath, darker on the back.  They have a large wing span and look like they are quite healthy.  My only concern by looking at the maps you have is that they have not headed south yet.  I’m sure these are ospreys from what I have read and seen.” Jim Kortge thanked her “for taking the time to report the Ospreys you have seen in your area.  I'm sure they are Ospreys, and most likely, chicks that have fledged but are not quite ready to do their first migration. Sometimes youngsters stay around until the middle of October before they go on that first big adventure.”  As with any report, if possible, “some photos of what you are seeing would be most helpful in know if they are indeed chicks, or adults, or a mixture of both. If they have not learned to fish on their own, one of the adults from the nest is most likely still around also, making sure they are doing OK.”

23 September 2013

Independence passed by just north of the Florida Keys HawkWatch site (see map below).  There were 74 Ospreys counted that day at that site. Rafael Galvez, the Florida Keys HawkWatch Coordinator, commented that “with considerably strong winds that day out of the southeast, birds were pushed towards the Florida Bay side of the Keys; if they are following the general island chain thrust towards the southwest, they are detectable and identifiable to us. ...  Ospreys are of interest to us since they tend to make interesting flights once they get to our area in the Middle Keys, often at relatively high altitudes.”

Walter Chavers “observed what looked to be a fledgling male successfully catching a fish at North Hydro Park in Ypsilanti not far below the Ford Lake dam.”  Jim Kortge noted that “there is an active cell tower nest in Ypsilanti, so maybe a chick from that nest [is] hanging around.  [It is] not all that uncommon for chicks to stay around until mid-October.”  Walter says that “the fledgling did not appear to be banded.”  Jim commented that the chicks “were not banded from that cell tower nest” and didn’t “think Barb [Jensen] could round up a climbing crew for that tower location.”

22 September 2013

Walter Chavers “observed an Eagle perched in one of the Kensington Ospreys’ favorite roosting trees overlooking the nest.”

10 September 2013

Janet Hug wrote in to report “that on Sunday (08 September) afternoon, I saw Indy atop his nest platform on the bay of Kent Lake” and that when she came by at 19:45, he was gone.”  Jim Kortge says that Indy “is still around, because his mom keeps bringing him fish. We think he is learning to fish on his own but is a real cry baby when he gets hungry, and mom comes to the rescue.” Jim adds that at 19:45, Indy was probably “off to find his nesting tree for the evening.”  Jim reported that he had seen Indy “on Saturday, [at] about 11:15, on the nesting platform begging for food, but neither of the adults showed up. We did see him dive for a fish but wasn’t successful, but at least we know he is learning.”

Here is Indy, looking like he might wanting someone to bring him a fish. This photo was taken at around 16:30 on Sunday 08 September.

Bugsy Watson photo, used with permission

04 September 2013

From the transmitter map (see below snapshot), Barb Jensen observed, “Leroy's and Monroe Spark's tracking footprints crossed at US 23 just south of Milan with Monroe Spark heading west and Leroy traveling southeast.  Once they began traveling pretty much straight south, though, their routes appear to parallel each other.  I find that interesting.  I wonder how long it will continue.”

Meanwhile, closer to home, Deirdre Smith noted, “Just back from the tower near my home off of Clyde Road, where there was a male [Osprey] perched there for some time.”  She said that she would try to send more updates if he continues to hang around.

Ian Wolfe reported an Osprey on Broadstreet near the UM School of Music, “I was with my sister (both of us are students at UM), when the Osprey flew over the road, just above the trees. I am very skilled in identifying birds and have done it all my life, but this is the first Michigan Osprey I have seen.”  Jim Kortge’s response was, “Wow, right in the middle of campus and downtown.  I’m guessing it was a fledgling chick looking around and getting its bearings before going off on its first migration flight.  But, maybe an adult was passing through on migration. There are no known nests in that part of Ann Arbor, but maybe we are still missing one up in a cell tower close by that hasn’t been discovered.  We have lots of Ospreys in Southern Michigan now, thanks to the reintroduction efforts.  We have about forty nests in the Southeast Michigan area and another fifteen or so in the rest of the Southern tier of counties, so quite a large and growing population. Many chicks this nesting season who have fledged within the past four to five weeks and, for the most part, doing a lot of exploring of their natal areas or already heading Southward on their first migration. Two of our GPS fitted chicks are on their way.”

02 September 2013

Jane Purslow reported that all the youngsters at Windfall Bay in Kensington MetroPark ate very well today.  She saw Dad bring in a nice big goldfish for Indy, which he ate completely. Later, she saw Mom bring in a smaller fish for one of the sisters.  The other sister was seen in one of the family’s favorite roosting trees with a different goldfish.

Here is Dad bringing in a beautiful goldfish for Indy, who looks like he is telling Dad to hurry up and land already!

Jane Purslow photo, used with permission

Indy no sooner got his fish than Mom brought in another.

Here comes Mom with another fish!  Indy is probably thinking, “Wow!  It’s like feast and famine around here!” Don’t Indy’s eyes seem like saucers?

Jane Purslow photo, used with permission

Right after Mom dropped in, so did one of the sisters.

As Indy guards his fish, Sis goes over to Mom for her fish.

Jane Purslow photo, used with permission

01 September 2013

Deaver Armstrong, the Ann Arbor City Ornithologist, reported seeing an Osprey “hanging out with” a Belted Kingfisher at the “beach” area of Nichols Arboretum, along with a nice fallout of warblers.

Jim Kortge relayed this report from Kathy Memoth.  “My husband and I sighted three Osprey flying fairly low at Lake Hudson State Recreation Area in Hudson, Michigan [on 30 August] sometime between 14:00 and 15:30. We were in a canoe.  About a half hour later, at the western end, near a duck blind, we saw one Osprey perched on a dead tree.  Did not see the other two at that time  Again, we saw this Osprey from a canoe.  It stayed on the dead tree a few minutes and then flew over some trees out of sight.” Jim explained that “there are more and more Ospreys in the Hudson, MI area as the population continues to expand. My guess is that [Kathy] saw some of the chicks who have fledged from one or more of the nests down that way, out exploring the local territory and getting used to their surroundings.  [Kathy] may well see them many times before they leave for South America, their wintering location.”

26 August 2013

William Niemczyk reported on the UMICH Birders List seeing an Osprey at Robert H Long Park in Commerce Township.  He said “I thought I saw it leave the area after making three or four dives into the water.  It flew northwest over the covered bridge.  It perched on a tall dead tree for awhile. ... It then flew off to the north again.  I could not tell if it was a male or female.”  Perhaps this bird is from the nest that is just a few miles to the north behind the Walmart.

24 August 2013

Zerb21 reported on the UMICH Birders List that “at about 10:20 AM today, I saw an Osprey flying that was carrying a fish while being chased by an adult Bald Eagle at North Bay Park in Ypsilanti.”  This bird might be from the nest that is just south of the Ford Plant in Ypsilanti, but where did the Bald Eagle come from?

15 August 2013

Deirdre Smith observed “five Osprey in the air above the Clyde tower this morning about 10:30am. Kate and I went over to see if we could figure out who they were. I took lots of pictures but have to go through them to see if any were helpful. Four left the area together and one stayed on the tower. I check everyday to note if Osprey are still on Clyde tower.

Just walked around the base of Clyde tower and did not see whitewash or fish remains. Will keep watching and report back.

Also checked on Duck Lake tower and four Osprey seen. One standing on lower outpost eating a fish and one or two others vocalizing.”

Barb Jensen added “that usually Mom leaves within a short time..a couple of weeks...after the last chick has fledged.  Dad hangs around and continues to care for them for quite some time, even after they have caught their own prey. He eventually weans them by refusing to give them his fish. It's comical to watch them while they chase after him and beg and beg, but he just keeps eating the fish.”

Barb surmized that “the five Ospreys that [Deirdre] saw might have been those from the Highland tower.”

08 August 2013

Jane Purslow saw Independence take five baths at the Windfall Bay in Kensington. Could this possibly be step one to learning how to fish?  Her pictures from two of the baths coming soon.

12 July 2013

Today the first of three Microwave Telemetry GPS transmitters was deployed.  This is a first in Michigan, and the full story of how this all came about will be published here soon! You will be able to view movements of the Kensington male chick after he fledges as well as the other two chicks (at different nests) soon to get their own transmitters.


Earlier reports from this year can be found here.

[Osprey Watch of SE MI] [Our Mission] [Sightings Map] [Osprey Research Support] [Educational Programs] ["Friends of the Osprey"] [Archive]

All content of this website © 2013 Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan.