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October 13. 2012 8:58PM

NH osprey trackers invited to Israel


A close up of "Jill" before she was fitted with a satellite tracking device this summer. Jill, a juvenile female, presumably perished in South America during her maiden migration. (Courtesy photo - Squam Lake Natural Science Center)

HOLDERNESS — The head of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and his colleague in an osprey satellite-tracking project have been invited to Israel early next year to help form an osprey-centered international educational foundation.

Executive Director Iain MacLeod and professor Richard “Rob” Bierregaard, a visiting research professor at the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, were recently invited to go to Tel Aviv in February. There, they will join at least 18 other experts from around the world.

MacLeod heads up Project Osprey in New Hampshire, where three birds, an adult and two juveniles, are being tracked with a GPS enabled satellite-tracking device. Bierregaard is tracking eight ospreys this year. His tagged birds are from Massachusetts, Delaware and New York.

In an interview on Friday, MacLeod said the foundation will use satellite tracking of osprey migration as a global education and conservation tool.

“This ties in perfectly with what we do at the Science Center. Education is our main thrust,” he said. The center ultimately seeks to establish relationships with South American schools near resting ospreys. One of the difficulties is that less than 50 percent of juveniles survive the maiden migration. New Hampshire birds being tracked have either died or gotten lost in various parts of the world.

“The U.K. project leaders are trying to link with schools in Africa, and we've got the same concept here — if we can get a bird to survive.”

For more information, call the center at 968-7194 or go to www.nhnature.org.


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