Osprey watching on the James

March 19, 2013 · 1 minute read

Rex Springston had a nice piece in yesterday’s Times-Dispatch about ospreys on the James River and a new program from the Center for Conservation Biology called Osprey Watch that seeks to get citizens involved in identifying and monitoring osprey behavior.

As Springston writes, ospreys are important indicators of water quality and ecological health because they live on every continent but Antarctica and they eat almost nothing but live fish.

How cool is this osprey pic by the T-D's P. Kevin Morley?

How cool is this osprey pic by the T-D’s P. Kevin Morley?

From the T-D: The center last year quietly launched OspreyWatch, in which volunteers sign up online to monitor nests of their choosing. The project has more than 900 observers checking about 3,500 nests in five countries. (Bird expert Bryan) Watts wants to expand the network for this spring’s breeding season.

The observers record such details as when the birds lay their eggs, the number of chicks that hatch and how many survive to take wing. Watts hopes the project in a few years will provide useful leads about environmental problems.

On a bike ride on Brown’s Island this past weekend, I saw an osprey on a nest on top of an old railroad bridge piling in the James. A bald eagle sat on the next piling over. How many cities have a show like that going on downtown?