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Severna Park osprey cam sees two baby birds; Kent Island osprey couple’s three eggs destroyed

Viewers can listen in and get a birds eye view of the two ospreys on a new platform in Severna Park. The project was organized by a Severna Park husband and wife, Mark and Heather Jeweler, who had admired the nesting pair for years.
Viewers can listen in and get a birds eye view of the two ospreys on a new platform in Severna Park. The project was organized by a Severna Park husband and wife, Mark and Heather Jeweler, who had admired the nesting pair for years. (Courtesy of Mark and Heather Jeweler / HANDOUT)

After a dispute with a different osprey couple at the start of the nesting season, Tom and Audrey of Kent Island won the day, built their nest and laid three eggs.

The Chesapeake Conservancy, which monitors the Kent Island platform set up 16 years ago by a family to educate their daughter and her classmates, said at the end of April Tom and Audrey started spending a long period of time away from the nest, leaving the eggs open to poor weather and predators.

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By May 10 all three eggs had been destroyed.

But in Severna Park, another pair of osprey monitored by Maryland Raptor Rescue Inc., Olivia and Oscar, have a more successful brood this year. So far two out of four eggs have hatched at the nest outside Severna Park High School. Only time and nature will tell if the other little birds will hatch.

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Heather and Mark Jeweler run the camera in partnership with BGE, Comcast, and HDonTap. This is its fifth year in operation, and while they typically do not give names to the camera’s stars, this year they asked kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders to submit some ideas and art.

“I think right now with the chaos that’s out there in the world, all the kids not being able to be at school, we felt we would do something positive,” she said.

They received 13 submissions from Severna Park students, along with drawings of the birds. There were Fisher and Defender, drawn in-flight clutching fish. Other suggestions included: Leia and Darth, Pebble and Pickle, Bob and Sweetie, Sunny and Spark, and Hunter and Aggie. Oscar and Olivia were chosen.

Heather Jeweler said they usually forgo naming the osprey because they don’t know if the same pair returns year after year, can cause people to treat the wild birds like pets, and naming the birds can make it more difficult emotionally if a bird is hurt or dies.

She said they keep an eye on the nest for the intrusion of man-made waste, including fishing line and scraps of silt fencing used to control sediment runoff. She and her husband worked with BGE to create a dedicated nesting platform for the birds after a stadium lighting fixture they had nested on for years was removed during the high school’s renovation. The birds attempted to nest on a crane instead and then a power line.

“It shows how they have had to adapt with all this human development around them,” Jeweler said. “To me, it should make people feel how much these birds struggle and how much they have to overcome to raise a family.”

Mark Jeweler said people often learn something new by watching the camera. Sparrows and starlings have built their own homes around the edges of the osprey’s nest. The tiny birds clean the nest of debris and they are protected because predators won’t get near the osprey.

“When you have a landlord that is that size...” Heather Jeweler said.

The couple post about the osprey and publish highlights from the camera feed on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SPOspreys.

The Jewelers said they hope to update their camera before next nesting season, so they can have higher-quality images and zoom in on foreign objects and baby bird bellies. They are also looking for a volunteer with access to a bucket truck or other machinery to be on standby to help them reach the nest, which is 40 feet in the air, in case of emergency.

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