Martha’s Vineyard Osprey Have Record-breaking Year
It has been a summer of love and a very successful breeding season for Island osprey. Vineyard numbers from the 19th annual osprey census show an excellent year.
A record high of 90 active nests were observed, beating last year’s numbers by two nests. At these 90 nests, 144 osprey young fledged, again a record. Breeding success was high with 85.6% of active nests successful. In addition, there were at least 6 housekeepers/househunters (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 336 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 200 total (active and inactive) osprey poles and nesting structures on the Vineyard. Along with Osprey Researcher Rob Bierregaard and lead monitor Dick Jennings, 27 Citizen Science volunteers from Felix Neck supported the efforts by monitoring one or more poles in their neighborhoods. Collectively, they logged more than 1,800 hours on this project
Citizen Science Volunteer Linda Vadász shares her feelings about being an osprey watcher, “The experience of being an osprey monitor has given me a new appreciation, not only of these majestic soaring sea hawks, but also for all the birds that feed in our backyard. The training at Felix Neck was so informative. From the first sighting of the returning mating pair, to the excitement of seeing the hatchlings, to the thrill of watching their first efforts at flying, and finally to their disappearance into the wild is an experience that is hard to duplicate. I can't wait to sign up for more next year!”
Rob Bierregaard puts the results in a historical perspective noting, “It was a record year—the largest number of pairs nesting, the most young fledged, and the largest number of citizen scientists helping monitor the population. Special thanks to Dick Jennings for his many years single-handedly running the censuses. And, of course, the remarkable recovery of the Vineyard Osprey population from 2 pairs in 1971 to 90 in 2016 is the result of the remarkable efforts of Gus Ben David and his dedicated Project Osprey team who have shepherded the population with such devotion for over four decades.”
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.
Mass Audubon's Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
PO Box 494
Vineyard Haven, MA 0256
tel: 508-627-4850 fax: 508-627-6052