February 7, 2017 – With hundreds of Ospreys soon to arrive back in Connecticut, we are making preparations for our 2017 Osprey Nation season. We have:
- training sessions for stewards
- a recruitment drive for new stewards
- the release of our report on the 2016 season.
The report’s main author is Genevieve Nuttall, our Osprey Nation coordinator. You’ll want to read the whole thing but, to start, here’s an excerpt of the executive summary. It explains why we’re recruiting new stewards: both the program and the Osprey population are booming, and we need help to keep up:
In each of the three years of Osprey Nation, we have observed more active nests and fledglings due to the increasing citizen science efforts. These numbers tell us that the Osprey population continues to grow in Connecticut.
Since 2014, we have added over 200 nest locations to the Osprey Nation map. In 2016, there were 337 active nests and 490 total fledglings observed in the state, which are record numbers in the dataset. We have seen Osprey occupy new nesting sites that are further inland than their historical range along the coast of Connecticut. In 2016, Osprey Nation stewards reported new nest locations in many towns, especially those in the southern part the state such as Madison and Guilford. The trend may be due to a combination of an expanding availability of nesting platforms and abundant food sources throughout the state. This pattern indicates a healthy aquatic environment in Connecticut since Osprey eat only fish and therefore rely on aquatic ecosystems for food.
The amount of time and expertise needed to be a volunteer steward is relatively small but each steward’s contribution to the Osprey Nation effort is enormous. Volunteers spend about 15 minutes per nest every two weeks observing, taking notes and sending in data.
We encourage all stewards, even those who have been volunteering since the start in 2014, to attend one of our training sessions. They are scheduled for:
Saturday, February 18, from 10 a.m. – noon, at the Essex public library
Saturday, February 25, from 10 a.m. – noon, at the Milford Point Coastal Center
The sessions will be led by Milan Bull, our senior director of science and conservation. RSVP’s are required. Please email him: email@example.com.