Osprey Watch 2013

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Photo: Virginia Aquarium

Photo: Virginia Aquarium

Photo: Virginia Aquarium

Virginia Beach, Va. – How would you like to be a bird watcher and citizen scientist at the same time?

By joining OspreyWatch in the next few weeks, you can discover the joys of watching these easily recognizable birds’ annual spring ritual while making a contribution to the study of global warming.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has joined forces with The Center for Conservation Biology, a research group shared by the College of William and Mary and the Virginia Commonwealth University, to recruit citizens to join OspreyWatch.

Virginia Aquarium Research & Conservation Director Mark Swingle said, “Since osprey feed almost exclusively on live fish throughout their entire life cycle, we are particularly interested in recruiting citizens that live along the Lynnhaven River and all of its branches.”

Ospreys are known as rare global sentinels for aquatic health.

As a top consumer within aquatic ecosystems, they are quite sensitive to both overfishing and environmental contaminants. Nearly all populations breed in the northern latitudes and winter in the southern latitudes. This effectively links the aquatic health of the hemispheres and makes them an effective barometer of climate change.

For the second year, OspreyWatchers throughout the world will record and share their observations with a growing online community of global citizens that are linked by an interest in osprey biology and a concern for aquatic environments. In its debut 2012 season, OspreyWatch included a network of more than 800 observers that recorded observations on 1,600 nests in 5 countries.

OspreyWatch is a user-friendly, internet platform that allows observers across the globe to map their nests, log observations, upload photos, and interact within an observer forum.

Information entered into the platform will be immediately accessible to users and will be summarized following the breeding season.

To join a growing community of global citizens, please click here and become an OspreyWatcher!