The annual migration of osprey from their wintering grounds in South America is now underway. While some have already arrived in the Chesapeake Bay region, others have not yet begun their trek.
You can track the movements of four Chesapeake Bay osprey at cbf.org/ospreymap. One of the birds, named Quinn, is now in Florida on his journey to Tangier Sound. Nick, who also nests in Tangier Sound; Woody, who will take up residence in Whitehall Bay, in Anne Arundel County; and Crabby, who will be nesting near Kent Island, are still in South America.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Osprey Tracking Project was designed to enhance understanding of this iconic species, and the four birds were chosen because they are frequently seen by students participating in CBF’s Education Programs. Tracking devices enable students to see the birds in the wild and study their daily travels from the classroom.
“Using this technology, not only can we track migration, we can also monitor the daily activities of these birds both here and in South America,” said Tom Ackerman, CBF’s Vice President for Education. “Osprey are fascinating birds, and through this program we can engage students and citizens and help them understand the epic migration and life cycle of these part-time residents of the Chesapeake Bay region.”
The return of osprey to the Chesapeake Bay, generally in March, is a traditional sign of spring. The Chesapeake Bay has the most concentrated population of osprey in the world, but they can also be found in places as far away as Siberia, the Red Sea, and Canada. While here in the Chesapeake, osprey, also called fish hawks, dine primarily on menhaden.
The tracking devices were donated by Microwave Telemetry, Inc., and were installed by professional ornithologists.
“We are pleased to participate in this effort with CBF, and hope that it will help raise awareness and public support for conservation of our national treasure,” said Dr. Lance Jordan, Operations Manager at Microwave Telemetry, Inc.