Connecticut Audbon Society

You Can Help Connecticut’s Ospreys by Volunteering as a Citizen Scientist

June 14 Update
Connecticut Residents Respond!

Our Call to Action has resulted in enough new volunteers to monitor 112 additional nests.
So as of today, 405 of approximately 533 active nests are being monitored.
Thank you for the great response!

 

Ospreys nesting on a piling in Old Saybrook. Photo by Lynn Johnson

Ospreys nesting on a piling in Old Saybrook. Photo by Lynn Johnson

June 6, 2016 – As the number of Osprey nests continues to increase throughout all parts of the state, the Connecticut Audubon Society is in serious need of more volunteers to monitor nests and has put out a call for new participants in its Osprey Nation citizen science program.

“We don’t want to fall behind on the amount of information we are collecting through this valuable program,” said Milan Bull, Connecticut Audubon’s senior director of science and conservation. “Ospreys eat only fish and therefore are excellent indicators of environmental health, so we need good data to keep track of how these birds are doing.”

The 2016 Osprey Nation map pinpoints 575 nest locations, up from 515 last year; 293 of those are being monitored and at least 42 are inactive.

That means as many as 240 active nests are not being monitored. Those nests are spread throughout the state, in large concentrations in the towns along the lower Connecticut River, and the shore of Long Island Sound from Milford to Westbrook, as well as Groton, Norwalk and Greenwich; and even in isolated inland locations in Canterbury, Thompson, Plainfield, and Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the number of volunteer Osprey Nation stewards has dropped to 112.

To volunteer or to learn more, email osprey@ctaudubon.org.

Interested in becoming an Osprey steward?

Look at the map and choose an Osprey nest marked by a red pin

Peruse the list of unmonitored nest sites and find the matching pin numbers on the map

Ask us for help matching you with a nest: osprey@ctaudubon.org

Use the email address above to let us know of your interest. [Please do NOT let us know that you are interested by leaving a comment below.]

“The amount of time and expertise needed is relatively small but each steward’s contribution to the Osprey Nation effort is enormous, so we ask people throughout the state to consider volunteering,” said Genevieve Nuttall, Osprey Nation coordinator for the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Volunteers spend about 15 minutes per nest every two weeks observing, taking notes and sending in data.

“I monitor six nests in East Haven and Branford, nests which I pass anyway in my daily walks and occasional kayak trips,” said Dorothy Goldberg, an East Haven resident. “It is a great pleasure to watch these Osprey families grow and return each year, and I am happy to be part of team of monitors to help ensure that osprey thrive in Connecticut for many years to come.”

At this point in the season, the most important information is the number of fledglings from each nest and the date of departure during late-summer and fall migration.

Connecticut Audubon enters these and other data on an interactive map and also sends the information to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Connecticut Audubon is asking potential volunteers to email Osprey@ctaudubon.org for more information. Potential volunteers can either look at the map and choose an Osprey nest marked by a red pin (green pins indicate nests that are already being monitored); peruse the list of nest sites on the Connecticut Audubon website and find the corresponding pin numbers on the map; or ask us for help matching them with a nest.

The Connecticut Audubon Society launched Osprey Nation in the summer of 2014, to create a long-term data record that will give the conservation community a better understanding of the health of Connecticut’s Osprey population.

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. Because Ospreys eat fish almost exclusively, changes in the population can be an early indicator of problems in the waters of the state and of Long Island Sound.

 

 

 

 

 

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