Cover image for Belle's journey : an osprey takes flight / Rob Bierregaard ; illustrated by Kate Garchinsky.
Belle's journey : an osprey takes flight / Rob Bierregaard ; illustrated by Kate Garchinsky.
Publication Information:
Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, [2018]
Physical Description:
v, 106 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 24 cm
Foreword -- Reunion on the marsh -- The scientists -- First flight -- Captured! -- First fish -- Migration -- Island hopping -- Hurricane -- Over the mountains -- The sea of green -- A long vacation -- A busy summer -- Homeward bound -- Across the gulf -- A meal lost -- Homecoming -- A new pair of ospreys -- A final reunion -- Journey's end -- Information and resources.
Tracks the migration of an osprey named Belle who is born in Martha's Vineyard, learns to fly, and goes on an eight thousand mile journey to Brazil.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
598.93 BIE Book Junior Collection

On Order



Dr. B. and Dick, two osprey scientists in Massachusetts, observe ospreys and their offspring, tagging one special fledgling with a transmitter to better study migration habits. Follow Belle as she attempts her first flight, conquers her first fishing endeavour, and heads south for her first migration all while her tracking device transmits information about where's she been. Based on information garnered through twenty years of research by the author, Belle's Journey will soar into reader's hearts.

Author Notes

Rob Bierregaard has studied ospreys in New England since 1971. In 1998 he restarted an intensive census of the population on Martha's Vineyard. Beginning in 2000, he started tagging ospreys with satellite transmitters that enable us to follow their migration to South America and back. Belle's Journey is Rob's first children's book.

Kate Garchinsky is the illustrator of Belle's Journey and The Secret Life of Red Fox . Prior to creating children's books, Kate designed toys, birdbaths, and trail maps. She lives with her husband, Brian, in Pennsylvania. http-//



Foreword Have you noticed that some birds disappear in the winter? If you live near water where big fish-eating hawks called ospreys live, you know that they all leave in the fall. Did you ever wonder where they go? And how they find their way there and back again? Can you imagine an adventure where you leave your home behind and fly over the ocean alone, and all you can see--all the way to the horizon--is open water? Would you keep flying for two days straight on the first leg of your trip, not knowing what lay ahead of you?             This is the story of a young osprey named Belle, who migrated four thousand miles from Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, to Brazil, at the southern edge of the Amazon rain forest in South America.             This is also a story about four people (I'm "Dr. B.") who followed Belle's travels and what they learned about a young osprey's first migration. I study ospreys and track them by putting small radio transmitters on them. The radios send messages via satellite so I can follow the ospreys as they migrate south in the fall and north in the spring. Over sixteen years, my fellow scientists and I have put transmitters on ninety-five ospreys from South Carolina to New Hampshire. Thirty-one of these birds were from Martha's Vineyard.             There are lots of reasons why scientists track ospreys with transmitters, but the most important one is what makes all scientists do what they do--curiosity. A scientist looks at the world and just has to ask questions. Scientists find the world wonderful--what they notice around them makes them full of wonder. They want to know why this insect is so brightly colored and why that one is camouflaged. Why do most trees drop their leaves in the fall? What about the trees that don't? Scientists collect data to answer questions. When they find an answer, it almost always raises another question. I was curious about where Martha's Vineyard ospreys go when they leave the island each fall. One question led to another, and before I knew it, I had been studying osprey migration for sixteen years. What do you wonder about when you are out in nature?             This is a mostly true story. Belle is a real osprey who flew across the ocean from Massachusetts to South America and spent her first winter in southern Brazil. We know this from the transmitter she wore. We don't know exactly what she did on that trip, so I have imagined some details--the fish she caught, the other animals she saw, and the adventures she had. All my imagining is based on behaviors I have seen in other ospreys and in the other animal species that live where Belle traveled. I've also imagined the migration of her parents. Their trips are based on those of adult ospreys from Martha's Vineyard that were outfitted with transmitters. We know where Belle's mother was born because a scientist had placed a small numbered band on her leg when she was a nestling, and I read the band number when we caught her a few years before we met Belle. These bands were the only way we had to find out where birds migrate before satellite transmitters were invented. We and many other scientists still use bands sometimes.             Belle continues to make her journey to the Rio Madeira each year. Unlike Belle in this story, the real-life Belle has not mated yet, which is not unusual. Ospreys sometimes mate during their first year back north, but others take many years before they find a partner and first lay eggs and raise young. Each year Belle has come back earlier than the year before. She visits Martha's Vineyard and Long Pond, and flies across Buzzards Bay to Marion, Massachusetts. Someday soon, we hope, she will find a male osprey sky dancing with a fish in his talons and begin a family of her own.             So join me, my good friend Dick, and two kids from Martha's Vineyard as we follow the young osprey Belle, exploring her world and traveling to South America and back.              --Rob Bierregaard Excerpted from Belle's Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. iv
Chapter 1 Reunion on the Marshp. 1
Chapter 2 The Scientistsp. 5
Chapter 3 First Flightp. 9
Chapter 4 Captured!p. 13
Chapter 5 First Fishp. 21
Chapter 6 Migrationp. 29
Chapter 7 Island Hoppingp. 35
Chapter 8 Hurricanep. 41
Chapter 9 Over the Mountainsp. 47
Chapter 10 The Sea of Greenp. 51
Chapter 11 A Long Vacationp. 57
Chapter 12 A Busy Summerp. 61
Chapter 13 Homeward Boundp. 65
Chapter 14 Across the Gulfp. 71
Chapter 15 A Meal Lostp. 77
Chapter 16 Homecomingp. 81
Chapter 17 A New Pair of Ospreysp. 87
Chapter 18 A Final Reunionp. 93
Chapter 19 Journey's Endp. 97
Information and Resourcesp. 99
Osprey Basicsp. 99
Migrationp. 100
Injured Wildlifep. 101
Resourcesp. 102
Acknowledgmentsp. 104
Indexp. 106