Osprey Nation

Photo by Anastasia Zinkerman.

Photo by Anastasia Zinkerman.

Osprey Nation is Connecticut Audubon Society’s new citizen science partnership, launched in the summer of 2014, to monitor the health of our state’s Ospreys. The goal of Osprey Nation is to create a long-term record of data that will give the conservation community a better understanding of the health of Connecticut’s Osprey population.

In its first season, Osprey Nation’s 100-plus stewards located 414 nests in five counties and 42 towns, and monitored 174 of those nests. We plotted all the nests and the data submitted by the stewards on the map below. Osprey Nation stewards confirmed that 78 young Ospreys were successfully fledged in 2014, a number that we’re confident is low.

The project is off to a great start but we still need your help and expertise!

If you live near an active Osprey nest and can volunteer about an hour a month to be part of our network of stewards, email us at Osprey@Ctaudubon.org.

Among our goals for next year are to add nest locations to the map, learn more about nests that are not yet being monitored, start to look for trends that would indicate whether the state’s Osprey population is declining or increasing, and what those trends might tell us about water quality and fish populations.

It was only several decades ago that the widespread use of DDT brought these great fish-eating raptors to the brink of extinction. But with a ban on this toxic pesticide and the efforts of government biologists, conservation groups and individuals, Ospreys have made a dramatic comeback.

You can view a map on this page showing the routes of four Ospreys that nested in Connecticut and Rhode Island and were fitted with radio tags by researchers Paul Spitzer and Rob Bierregaard. The map contains a lot of data and takes about 10 seconds to load.

Our network of Osprey Nation stewards collects and sends us data on the birds’ arrival dates each spring, the location of nests, nesting success and departure dates. We enter the data on a map for everyone to view. Osprey Nation is a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and we will be submitting the data to DEEP biologists.

We also ask the stewards to monitor the condition of Osprey nesting sites, especially poles, and to work with Connecticut Audubon and the Connecticut DEEP to make sure they are safe and secure.

Click on the upper right-hand corner of this map for a full-screen view. Click on the red and green markers for more information about each nest. Green markers indicate nests for which we have stewards; red markers indicate nests for which we are still seeking stewards. Please note that as of late June 2014, we are not even close to knowing the location of or plotting all the Osprey nests in the state. We need your help with that too!

Volunteer for Osprey Nation

Email us at Osprey@Ctaudubon.org to volunteer!

We estimate that each volunteer will spend no more than an hour a week, from late March through August, observing, recording information and sending it to us.

The decline of Ospreys, not just in Connecticut but throughout their range, was caused by the widespread use of the toxin DDT and the loss of nest sites. A widely used agricultural pesticide, DDT entered the rivers and Sound, was absorbed in the fish the birds ate, and caused the shells of Osprey eggs to become thin and to break as it interfered with the Osprey’s ability to metabolize calcium.

Listed as Endangered in nearly every state, Ospreys began their rebound with the banning of DDT in 1972. That year was the low point for Ospreys in Connecticut, with only seven active nests. Thereafter they became a poster-child for conservation as a cleaner environment coupled with an abundance of new nest sites created by the public led to their resurgence.

Today no one knows how many Ospreys nest in Connecticut, although the number is large: on the lower Connecticut River, 29 active Osprey nests are visible from one spot in Old Lyme alone.

However, Ospreys can still ingest DDT on their wintering grounds, so continued careful monitoring is important. Even more critical is that Ospreys and the fish they eat from our waters are still great monitors for any new and unknown toxic substances that might be out there.

Ospreys are our charismatic canaries, and are a critical first line of defense in monitoring our environment and ultimate human health.

23 Responses to “Osprey Nation”

  1. Jim Costello says:

    I tried to email osprey@Ctaudubon.org with photos but it was kicked back as undeliverable.

    My name is Jim Costello and I‘m a retired engineer, living in East Haddam. I regularly visit two nests in the area. One is in Salmon Cove, where the Salmon River meets the Connecticut (41.471919, -72.470542); the other is in Pratt Cove, Essex-Deep River (41.384449, -72.423632). Coordinates are the actual nests.

    I’m interested in participating in your study.

    Jim Costello

  2. There is an active nest on the light stanchion on the baseball fields of Old Tavern Rd in Orange, CT. Male has brought in fish to the female and he eats his fish on a dead tree nearby.
    Have not seen chicks yet. Possibly young pair . Possible nest on cell phone tower by Home Depot, Orange.

    I also monitor the osprey nest at the Coastal Center on Wednesday from 10-1PM.

    Beverly Propen

  3. Alison Cunningham says:

    I’m interested in volunteering but would like to know where all the sites are. Or are they only in Milford and Lyme?

  4. Beth Wahl says:

    I am interested in volunteering. I know of 6 Osprey nest in Westbrook,CT that are all active nests.I know that one of the Osprey’s is banded.

  5. Jo Ann Davidson says:

    Westport has 2 nests that I know of. One at Longshore near the Sound. Another on the Post Rd near Fresh Market, with all the traffic passing below. Two adults in each, don’t know how many young, or when they hatched.
    The local blog 06880 ran the story when the ospreys first built their nest on a power pole.

  6. Mary Barravecchia says:

    I look directly at an Osprey nest on River Road, Mystic CT. The ospreys have been regular neighbors for years and arrive like clockwork 2-5 days after St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th. The nest pole is leaning and in need of beind straightened and secured to an upright position; the tilt is a result of the last two hurricanes, Irene and Sandy. The nest is active with at least two hatchlings. The sign identifying the Osprey nest is faded, barely legible and in need of being replaced. Banding has occurred in the past.

    There is also another nest further up River Rd. which is also active.

    I can send pictures and am interested in participating in this study.

    Mary Barravecchia

  7. Judy Lawson says:

    I know of 4 sites in East Haven. All are in the Mansfield Grove area. I have pictures of activity in 2 sites this spring, other 2 nests harder to see so am not sure about them (they were active last year).

  8. Tara Gorr says:

    There is an active nest at the football field at New Britain High School. They’ve been nesting there for at least the past four years. I’m not sure how many young are there, unfortunately.

  9. Dave Grainger says:

    Goshen Cove, Waterford at Harkness State Park has one active nest and at least three that are vacant. The one active nest has two young, and two adults.

    Ocean Beach Park in New London has one active nest, with two adults, and an unknown number of young. The nest is deep so it’s impossible to see into it.

    Haley Farm Park in Groton, CT has one active nest with two adults and an unknown number of young.

  10. Marie says:

    About two weeks ago I noticed an active nest on Route 1 in Branford where exit 53 meets Route 1 (just across the intersection – top of telephone pole). There appeared to be two young in the nest and I witnessed one of the adults delivering dinner. Awesome sight!

  11. Edward Lamoureux says:

    The Osprey Nest that we are looking at is in the Light Tower in the middle of the parking lot at Ocean Beach Park in New London CT. We gought a cell tower company from taking down this light tower to put up a cell tower as these Ospreys have been coming back to this nest for decades.

  12. Brenda Rich says:

    I did send an email today about this Osprey Nation project. I would like to be a volunteer stewart for both the Stonongton # 1 and # 4 nests on the Mystic River. I check every 2 weeks or so anyway. Today , I took photos as well. Nest #1 is way out on a marsh and VERY large, two adults were visable. I will have to check back to see if chicks are more active and visable but not so today. Nest 4 had two active chicks that were visable. There is another nest that I watch also. This nest is North of Route 1 where it intersects with Elm St in Stonington. This is the Donahue Brook area in the Avalonia Preserve. Today, as well, at least two good sized chicks and both adults were visable. If you choose to assign this nest a # , I can also give you the data you need for this nest.

  13. Lynn A Johnson says:

    Just took photos of the nest in Old Saybrook / CT River on the pilings at the entrance to Island Cove/Brewers Marinas. Looks like three chicks-and two active parents. Second year I have been watching them.

  14. Geneva says:

    I am looking forward to checking on my Osprey nests again on Wednesday, I am a Steward for 3 on Mason’s Island however I found a 4th one out of the corner of my eye as I was driving out of Mason’s Island—3 active, one abandoned,,,,saw one juvenile…my binoculars that I bought off eBay should be in the mail soon for closer viewing however I did take my camera and telephoto last week and took pictures. I may pick up a few more nests because there are so many in my area here in SouthEastern CT. I am really enjoying myself and proud to be a part of this project working with CT Audubon Society!

  15. Nancy says:

    I know of a nest platform that is occupied-with ‘flappercizing going on now. It is actually in North Haven, not sure if it’s one of the ones listed as in ‘New Haven- Quinnipiac river’.
    The one I watch is right in the marshlands behind Buffalo Wild Wings, in North Haven, Hard to miss the platform.

  16. ron balsamo says:

    I see the nest listed for W.H. high school,but there is another one at Yale field on the right field light tower

  17. Bunny Logan says:

    I am monitoring the nest (#1, Guilford salt marsh, back of Jushua Cove) on a daily basis. It is right outside my back windows where I live. The nest is on top of a cedar tree, on small island, in the middle of the marsh. This year, the osprey pair had no babies, and abandoned the nest. Now, several weeks later, they are back visiting the nest. Occasionally they sit in it. I wonder if it is possible that they would lay eggs this late in the season? Does anyone know ? There are a total of 6 individuals in in the area, and can often be seen flying in the skies together.

  18. Adam Fisher says:

    There are a couple of nest just South of the Stamford Yachet Club in Stamford, CT. They have set up their nests atop some dock pilings. They hunted right there in Stamford harbor and did not seem that phased but the heavy level of boat activity in the area. I don’t have an exact number since I don’t live in the area but I saw at least three birds.

  19. Tom K says:

    East Haven #3 at Carolina Creek.

    Observed two in the nest and one adult watching over them about 9:00 AM. Another adult was flying nearby above the marsh.

  20. Tom Santa says:

    We have seen Osprey living in the summer on the Gilbert & Bennett factory pond in Georgetown (Redding). I don’t specifically recall seeing a nest but I doubt they are commuting from the coast.

  21. Tom K says:

    East Haven, location #3 at Carolina Creek about 2:00 PM today. High tide at the time. Both adults and the two juveniles were out of the nest. One adult returned while we were observing, the bird appeared to be still wet from hunting.

  22. Hugh McManus says:

    I am monitoring Norwalk Harbor # 10. The three juveniles have fledged and left the nest and it appears the parents have also left. Osprey sighting in Norwalk have dropped off considerably. Also..the photo you have posted for Norwalk Harbor 10 is actually the nest at Grassy Hammocks #12..

  23. Bunny Loan says:

    Guilford Joshua Cove #1. I’m watching the nest in back of my house in a cedar tree in the middle of the marsh. No juveniles this year. The nest is a mess, pulled apart by winds and rain. However, there are 6 happy adults in the area that can be seen eating fish daily on some posts at the end of a dock very nearby. Their behavior is very amusing at times. Like when a white heron had the nerve to sit on one of their poles. The osprey all got together and circled above chirping loudly at the heron.

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