An osprey chick squirmed its way out of the egg today (June 7) and was immediately attended by its mother as she offered it bits of fresh mackerel meat. That's the latest update from the live webcam in Maine. 

 

Animal lovers and birdwatchers can now observe nesting ospreys via computer or mobile phone, thanks to a new high-definition webcam trained on the two birds in Maine.

 

The ospreys, life-long partners, have made their home atop a 30-foot tower located at the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Bremen, Maine, which is part of Audubon’s Project Puffin, a system of 13 wildlife sanctuaries along the state’s coast. The live video feed was made available to the public via the partnership between the National Audubon Society and explore.org.

 

“We’re excited to give people a window into this wonderful world of birds, and we hope to inspire viewers everywhere to take actions that improve the planet for all its inhabitants,” said Project Puffin Director and Audubon Vice President Steve Kress in a press release.

 

The birds, which return to this nest annually, are nicknamed Steve and Rachel after scientist Steve Kress and marine biologist Rachel Carson. Rachel laid the first of the three eggs she’s incubating on April 29, and the egg hatched on June 7. During the chick's first feeding, Steve was circling close by.

 

Ospreys lay their eggs asynchronously, meaning they do not lay their eggs all at once, which gives the first chick a head start over its siblings as it has no competition for food. Prevailing theory says that ospreys and other birds have evolved to lay their eggs asynchronously in order to raise the largest number of offspring that resources will allow. All of the chicks would survive in years of abundant food, but in years of scarcity only the first chick would likely to survive.

 

Steve and Rachel will stay with the eggs until mid-June when they are all expected to hatch after 40 days of incubation. Rachel will do most of the incubation while Steve will dive for food and deliver fresh fish to her. When all of the eggs hatch, explore.org and the National Audubon Society will hold a naming contest for the chicks.

 

Once the chicks have hatched, Steve and Rachel will feed and brood them, and after about 50 days, the chicks will start flapping their wings and taking practice flights. By early September, the young birds will be ready for their solo journeys south along the Atlantic Flyway.

 

The osprey webcam will be live during daylight hours EST until the osprey family flies south through the Caribbean and South America in September. The video feed is the latest addition to explore.org’s Pearls of the Planet initiative, which the organization hopes will help people connect with nature.

 

“When people are inspired to fall in love with the world again, they are more likely to be better stewards of the planet,” said explore.org founder Charlie Annenberg.

 

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