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08/28/18 6:00am
08/28/2018 6:00 AM

Keep looking up at towers and telephone poles and you will see more osprey than in years past as the population of young osprey on the North Fork has grown by about 50 percent over the last five years.

According to the Group for the East End, there were 198 active nests across the East End in 2014 and 301 active nests in 2018, resulting in a 47 percent increase of young produced over the five-year span. Additionally, The North Fork also has the densest population of breeding osprey, specifically in Southold Town.

There are 143 active known nest sites in town, with 60 of them on Fishers Island, Plum Island and Robins Island. Southold Town has nearly 50 percent of all osprey activity on the East End, the Group said. It is also the birthplace of 48 percent of all young.

Conversely, Riverhead has the lowest amount of nests, with 19 noted so far in 2018 with a little more than half were occupied. The Group said strong winds and surf due to Riverhead’s large shoreline frontage on the Long Island Sound contributes to the lower number of nests there.

The Group has been working with local organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Long Island Audubon and North Fork Audubon, since 2014 gathering osprey breeding data in the five East End towns.

Of the 519 known sites, 420 of them were active or in potential use in 2018.

Nesting site data was collected each summer, with Southold averaging 196 nests over the five years. Southampton averages 106, 64 on Shelter Island, 28 in East Hampton and 12 in Riverhead.

Shelter Island also has the highest occupancy rate, the release said, at 80 percent. Comparatively, the five-year East End average is 69 percent.

But as the population increases, so do concerns. One such is the amount of birds nesting on utility poles.

“Nesting in trees we want, which is what some osprey once did, but nesting along electrical liens not so much,” Aaron Virgin, vice president of Group for the East End, said in a release. “I learn about a few instances each year, but PSEG has become a good partner by working with the local community to safely remove a nest and replace with a nesting platform disc.”

One example of this occurred in Flanders in April. One concern is that when osprey return to their nests with fish it could lead to electrical shortages, sparking fires and resulting in the death of a young bird unable to fly.

However, the increase in osprey has led to residents asking to erect manmade homes for the birds.

“On average I receive an inquiry a week seeking information about how to place an osprey pole on private property or to see if someone has the right habitat,” Mr. Virgin said in a release.

He added that the Group is particular about where poles can be placed as the goal is for birds to nest in natural places, such as trees or old boat docks and other natural places in disrepair.

“At some point it would be nice if osprey could make it on their own and with the current robust population we may be near that time,” he continued.

According to Mr. Virgin one of the main reasons for the increase in the birds is the changes in fishing regulations over the last decade, specifically regarding the amount of menhaden or “bunker” fish.

The recent increase of osprey on the East End has brought the birds into “species of special concern” distinction in 1995, which is its current status. The species was previously listed as endangered in 1976, and later began to rebound. Its distinction became “threatened” in 1983.

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04/22/18 6:00am
04/22/2018 6:00 AM

A strange wailing noise startled Elizabeth O’Reilly at her East Marion home late Saturday afternoon. She walked back on her deck, with a few neighbors, and looked up toward a tree, where she spotted something that looked at first like a plastic bag. But as she looked closer, she could see it was an osprey. READ

04/10/15 12:00pm
04/10/2015 12:00 PM
(Credit: John-Paul Stanisic)

An osprey flying in Southold. (Credit: John-Paul Stanisic)

How long does it take an osprey to journey 3,500 miles from South America to the northeast?

About three weeks.

Ospreys began returning to the North Fork in mid-March. Last year, North Fork Bob — a tagged osprey whose migration patterns have been tracked by ornithologist Rob Bierregaard since 2011 — left South America March 23 and arrived on the East End April 12.  (more…)

06/30/14 8:07pm
06/30/2014 8:07 PM
(Credit: Joe

North Fork third baseman Penn Murfee was taken to ELIH Monday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

UPDATE: North Fork Ospreys manager Bill Ianniciello said Penn Murfee was released from Eastern Long Island Hospital and back with his host family Monday night and appeared to be OK.

Ianniciello said Murfee, who had come back from a long road trip, appeared to be dealing with some dehydration.

Original Story: A North Fork Ospreys player was taken to a local hospital Monday evening after he felt his heart racing and faintish during a Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League game at Cochran Park in Peconic.

In the bottom of the first inning at around 7:20 p.m. against the Riverhead Tomcats, North Fork third baseman Penn Murfee hit a double to right field and started to feel his heart racing  and faintish when he got to second base, a team official said.

Murfee, who’s from Nashville, Tenn. and attends school at Vanderbilt University, was then taken out of the game and laid behind the dugout.

Southold Town police and Southold fire department officials responded to the scene. Murfee was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital for evaluation.

The game was delayed for about 15 minutes while he was being treated and is currently underway. The Tomcats led 6-0 when the game was delayed.

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03/21/14 1:00pm
03/21/2014 1:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Cutch the osprey after he was captured at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue.

It’s about that time of year when all the part-timers make their way back to the North Fork — the Osprey, that is — returning from a sultry winter abroad.

Ornithologist Rob Bierregaard, who for 13 years has been tracking ospreys’ flight paths to learn about their southern migration patterns, has made it easier for lovers of the sea hawks to track their inevitable return, launching a new website with interactive maps that details their travels.

Mr. Bierregaard said ospreys are trickling their way up the east coast, with North Fork’s resident bird, North Fork Bob, expected to take off for his journey from Venezuela to the North Fork within the next week.

Mr. Bierregaard tagged North Fork Bob in early August 2010, who has been going strong ever since, he said in past interviews.

In past three years, Bob has left around the same time each March, on the 15th in 2011, the 20th in 2012 and the 21st last year, according to the website.

As learned from Cutch — an osprey caught and tagged behind the fifth hole of the North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue — the aerial journey comes with its share of treacherous obstacles. Cutch managed to accidentally impale himself on a piece of a tree protruding from a pond last year, Mr. Bierregaard later found out.

To learn more about North Fork Bob, or any of the 23 other birds Mr. Bierregaard is tracking, and plan for their return, visit his website.

Ornithologist Rob Bierregaard is tracking the flight path of 24 birds, including North Fork Bob, who despite treacherous obstacles has returned to the area each spring since 2010. (Credit: www.ospreytrax.com)

Ornithologist Rob Bierregaard is tracking the flight path of 24 birds, including North Fork Bob, who despite treacherous obstacles has returned to the area each spring since 2010. (Credit: www.ospreytrax.com)