World Osprey Week in America

It is not just us in the UK who are getting excited about the imminent arrival of Ospreys. Our good friends in the USA are busy preparing for World Osprey Week 2015 – which is now just over a week away . Osprey researchers Iain MacLeod and Dr. Rob Bierregaard have been satellite tagging Ospreys in New Hampshire (just north of Boston  on the eastern US coast), since 2011. Rob has been tagging Ospreys in other states since 2001.

This year WOW will be following three American Ospreys -Donovan – an adult male, tagged by Rob and Iain in 2013, who nests in central New Hampshire. Belle – an adult female, tagged by Rob as a chick in 2010, who summers on the island of Martha’s Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast and North Fork Bob – an adult male, tagged by Rob in 2010, who summers in Long Island in New York. To find out more about the WOW Ospreys, click here.

Donovan spends his winters near the Orinoco River in Venezuela, Belle winters in Brazil near the Madeira River at the southern edge of the Amazon rainforest and North Fork Bob winters in the Guianan Shield highlands of southern Venezuela on the Ventuari River. You can see the current locations of each of these birds, as well as their autumn migration, on our WOW interactive map.

Iain has a strong connection to our UK Ospreys. He was born and raised in Scotland and spent many years working with Roy Dennis monitoring Ospreys in Aberdeenshire. He was a nature reserve warden and then Species Protections Officer for the RSPB from 1985-1988 before immigrating to the USA in 1988. He worked for New Hampshire Audubon Society for 18 years where he continued his Osprey studies and now is Executive Director of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. He even has a connection to the Rutland Water Osprey Project as he was visiting Roy at his home in Speyside on the day that the very first donor Osprey chicks were collected for Rutland in 1996. He helped Helen McIntyre feed the chicks before they began their long road trip south to Rutland.

Iain MacLeod (right) and Rob Bierregaard with an Osprey in Hew Hampshire (photo by Chrism Martin)

Iain MacLeod (right) and Rob Bierregaard with an Osprey in Hew Hampshire (photo by Chrism Martin)

In addition to Donovan, Iain is eagerly awaiting the first return migration of Artoo, a male chick that was tagged in New Hampshire in 2013. Artoo will be first NH youngster to return as a mature bird. Fingers crossed that he survives another couple months in Brazil, and successfully navigates his way back to the north-east US.

This year, Iain is also launching a new multi-state education initiative involving nature centers and schools from at least 13 states along the US east coast from New Hampshire to Florida. Iain has adapted the school lesson plans (that we created for schools in the UK) for an American audience and hopes that we will see lots of new dots on the WOW map along the US east coast. To view Iain’s lesson plans, click here. 

Iain and Rob Bierregaard hope to deploy five more satellite tags this year in New Hampshire (focusing mostly on adult males). They are gathering data on male foraging at inland and coastal nest sites. For details about the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center’s New Hampshire-based OspreyTrack Project visit their websiteIain has extensive illustrated blogs about all his birds as well as links to interactive tracking maps. Iain also tweets about his Ospreys @OspreyNH. For details on all of Dr. Rob Bierregaard’s studies visit his website . Rob too has illustrated blogs and lots of exciting links. His Twitter is @Ospreytrax. There is even a wonderful phone app (for both iphone and Android) that allows you to track all of Rob’s Ospreys (as well as lots of storks and other birds in Europe) from your smartphone.

Huge thanks to Iain and Rob for their support of World Osprey Week.