COLUMBUS (TDB) -- State wildlife officials report that a male osprey who lives at Alum Creek State Park in central Ohio took off from Amazonia last week and is northbound on a 3,500 mile or so journey that crosses the Andes Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. The bird is radio-tracked by satellite and the next report may show he has already made it to Cuba. He left his wintering fishing grounds eight days ago, and travelled 85 miles the first night out.
A map that tracked the bird's route north last year is HERE. In 2006, the osprey left March 7 and crossed the Caribbean on the night of March 16th, exactly one year ago today. He has to cover nearly 400 miles of open water to get from northern edge of South America to Cuba, where he'll spend a few days refreshing and gaining strength on the island's before setting a course for Florida, which is about 170 miles away over Caribbean waters. Ospreys are fish eaters and they fatten up and rest at each stop. If all goes well, he'll be back in Ohio by the end of this month.
There is a lot of information about ospreys HERE. Last year, the male being tracked by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources lost the female who flew south with him in late 2005. She disappeared on March 28 in Venezuela, and is presumed dead. State officials said there is no way the could retrieve her radio transmitter.
The male found a new mate in Ohio last year, but she is not being tracked.