It has been a summer of love and a very successful breeding season for Island osprey. Vineyard numbers from the 21stannual osprey census show an excellent year.
A record high of 100 active nests were observed. At these nests, early estimates show that 133 osprey young have fledged, again a record. In addition, there were at least 4 housekeeping pairs (adult birds that are seeking and beginning to build a nest, but did not complete the nest and lay eggs). With the adults, unpaired osprey and fledglings, there were more than 327 osprey in the air over the Island!
The efforts to count, monitor and record osprey breeding success is a monumental task, considering that there are 223 total (active and inactive) osprey poles and nesting structures on the Vineyard. This is up from only a few nests in the early 1970s. Along with Osprey Researcher Rob Bierregaard and lead monitor Dick Jennings, 41 Citizen Science volunteers from Felix Neck supported the efforts by monitoring one or more poles in their neighborhoods. Collectively, these volunteers logged more than 2,400 hours on this project.
Rob Bierregaard is having an especially Osprey-filled summer with the launch of his new book, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky, Belle’s Journey, that tells the story of an Island’ osprey’s migration adventure.This book is available at Felix Neck and Island bookstores.
Sanctuary Director Suzan Bellincampi credits the volunteers for their tireless efforts to monitor nests across the Island.
Marilyn Sheerbaum who has been involved with the program for five years, shares her excitement;
“Monitoring an Osprey family is really quite exciting. From the time the nest is re-occupied to the fledging of the new family members- to the serial departure, these serial departure, these magnificent birds are a thrill to observe.”
Mass Audubon protects 36,500 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people–a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women. Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 125,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.