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Rachel feeds her chicks hours before the owl attack. Snapshot by GAngel

Rachel feeds her chicks hours before the owl attack. Snapshot by GAngel

Hog Island Osprey Chick Lost to Owl Predation

In sad news from Audubon’s Hog Island Osprey Nest, one of Rachel and Steve’s chicks was taken from the nest last night by a Great Horned Owl. The owl snuck in little after 1am ET, snatching the sleeping chick as osprey mom Rachel tried to defend her home with wings, talons, and warning calls.

It’s suspected that the chick taken was Sierra, named by fans, though we will continue to update with information as we learn more. This summer marks the third in a row that predators have taken osprey chicks from this nest; the last two years saw daytime bald eagle attacks, but Rachel and Steve continue to return.

Audubon’s vice president of conservation and director of Audubon’s seabird restoration program Steve Kress says in an article on Audubon.com, “I think what we’re seeing is a typical kind of scene, where some chicks fledge, and some chicks are predated. I don’t think they’re gonna move. If they fledge any chicks, they’re going to keep coming back.” And despite these tragedies our fans return to the osprey cam yearly to see the family.

Kress continues, “What we’re seeing here as always with these cams is a window to the real challenges of living in nature, where you’re constantly on guard, and the parents are making these decisions about whether to risk their own well being for the chicks.”

Watch the osprey family at explore.org/ospreys

  • 4meowsmom-MA

    Sigh…this has been hard to watch the past few years but I am reminded of the fact that Nature can be cruel, Nature can be kind, but without Nature we would have no world. Rest in peace feathered angels who fly freely now…. <3

  • lolo53

    RIP Sierra. Spirit, Big and Little are all with you.

  • Debra Bassett Williams

    sorry to hear of the loss but it is nature and this is life

  • Eyas Omaha

    Beautifully and tastefully done …

  • lolo53

    Beautiful tribute. Thank you Explore.

  • Deborah Fortin

    Beautiful tribute

  • lynndvm

    Thank you.

  • Linda Gillmor

    Thank you for this meaningful tribute to bird life and life in general. I have watched the nest for 2 years and have experienxed the joys and sorrows of bird mother/fatherhood and suffered with their losse(s). Thank you Audubon for giving us this glimpse into another world.

  • http://annieevergreen.com kikibird

    that was so beautiful and sweet and kind thank you

  • Annie

    A wonderful way to make us all feel better…we love what we see, and you make it easier to put it in perspective. Thanks.

  • Julia Glueckauf Gray

    Thank you for the lovely tribute. I know it is aimed to comfort the wonderful Hog Island community of watchers. Over the years, nature taught us a lot about the circle of life and I believe assigning “human” emotions to all the birds & animals we observe is just a part of our humanity. It draws us all closer as we watch nature unfold, warts and all. I appreciate Expore, Audubon & all the programs associated do to make this world a better and more educated place.

  • harry bono

    Another baby lost tonight on the Hog Island nest. So sad lost for words. Only one baby left :( Mom saw owl moments before the attack her jumped up off perch and baby got snatched same as night before last.

  • harry bono

    I disagree with the assessment of the first attack 2 nights ago, there was no responce by either parent. I was totally shocked to watch it happening in real time. The parents did nothing. Shortly after the attack the camera zoomed out and the mother was sitting on branch. NOW tonights attack the camera angle showed the mother on the branch 2 babies sleeping right before owl attacked the mother spread her wings chirped that’s all she had time for. Mother dropped down to nest squaking in protest with wings out. The first attack 2 nights ago there was no fighting off the attacker or protest at all. You could hear the baby hit roof below, chirping for about a minute afterward then nothing. I’m afraid now the last baby will be lost in the next few days unless very lucky or the people that banded the 2 survivors (day after 1st attack) remove the remaining baby to safety. Enough is enough I can’t watch anymore. I was getting really attached to this family and am now heart broke. Thanks Audubon for this glimpse into “nature”

    • Alyssa Dawson

      Not true. The first attack, Rachel practically landed on top of the owl trying to defend her chick. She responded instantly and did her best to fight off the attacker. The second attack, she was awake low on the perch, saw the owl coming a split second before it entered the nest and attempted to intercept, but the owl was just too fast. Truth is, an osprey is no match for a GHO. But Rachel did try.

      • harry bono

        Alyssa Dawson…You are right I deleted my comment. I went back and watched more closely and Rachel did respond as you stated. My appologies to all

  • george wang

    Now only one left, so do something ?

  • lori lilias

    please continue to update us with as many facts as possible as to what happened with both ‘sierra’ and ‘aspen’ as we are feeling utterly powerless especially as intervention is not deemed appropriate in the face of such vulnerability and danger and any information is better than none.

  • lori lilias

    and may spirit guide you all, now to include aspen

    • Karen-R Long Island NY CP2013

      I hope you don’t mind the post Lori. I loved your words

  • Cathy Sylvester

    Thank you for the beautiful tribute in honor of Sierra. It hit home and was very comforting

  • HawkZon

    That made me cry.

  • lori lilias

    thank you, and may we hope and continue to pray for bailey’s safety and soonest fledge

    • Karen-R Long Island NY CP2013

      Beautiful words Lori ❤️

      • lori lilias

        looking now at bailey in the nest having had some seeming quality time with her mom earlier, may we will in any and every way that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” mother julian of norwich

  • Ms Jude

    Thank you! Great job!

  • Nancy Valente

    What a wonderful, loving tribute to our beloved Sierra. She is soaring above the clouds and watching over those she left behind. RIP, Sierra.

  • Joleen Spelbrink

    My heartstrings were tugged. Than you.

  • Marie Elaine Hedrick

    Thank you for sharing. RIP Sierra.

  • Rori from South Carolina,U.S.

    Thank you for the lovely tribute. I was on the island when we lost them both. It was sad but being there and having to go on with our daily routines made it easier to carry on. I will always love this family and share all the good and bad. Fly forever in our hearts baby osprey.

  • Bernie Evans

    Great cams and blogs, thanks you guys…sad to hear of the Osprey chick being taken, our Ospreys in Savannah this year lost it all to a mean “other” Osprey…

  • Xan Xan