After years as a loner, star osprey ‘North Fork Bob’ finally finds a mate


After more than five years on the road, it appears North Fork Bob has settled down with a mate.

The osprey, a frequent visitor to the North Fork and an apparent loner in recent years, has begun the nesting process, according to ornithologist Rob Bierregaard, who has been tracking North Fork Bob since August 2010.

Ospreys typically nest every summer, Mr. Bierregaard said. North Fork Bob — a tracked osprey which migrates each year to Venezuela — has been an exception to the rule, spending previous summers flying solo.

“All of his locations are coming from a very small area,” he said. “In the past years when [North Fork Bob] wasn’t nesting he wandered all over the place … now the pattern of his movements are all focused on one spot. It’s the signature of a male who’s got a nest.”

Returning home near Peconic Bay in Mattituck on April 21st, Mr. Bierregaard said he was late to realize the osprey was nesting because the bird started so late. Males tend to nest around St. Patrick’s Day, he said.

He explained that birds of prey, such as ospreys, mate once each summer as opposed to smaller birds who might mate two or three times that season. The osprey eggs take 37 days to hatch and then another eight weeks once the young are born before they’re independent enough to leave the nest.

“Typically, most of the young are flying around and have left the nest already,” he said. “[Bob] mated so late he might still have young in the nest, he definitely should have young around him.”

North Fork Bob, one of 95 birds Mr. Bierregaard has tagged, tried to mate once before but got “chased out of town” by another bird, he said. All the birds flight patterns can be seen on his website.

Mr. Bierregaard said he can now confirm Bob has paired up, though he’s not sure whether the bird has mated yet.

“It’s really cool that he is,” he said. “We’ve been waiting a long time for the poor guy to find Mrs. Right.”

[email protected]

Photo credit: Tim Perry