Two adult male ospreys, including the father of the two juvenile ospreys whose signals were lost during their maiden migration to South America, have been outfitted with satellite transmitters as part of the Project OspreyTrack Program. Osprey researchers at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and the University of North Carolina lead the program.
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Executive Director Iain MacLeod is working with project partner Dr. Richard O. Bierregaard, a distinguished visiting research professor at the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
In an update on the project, MacLeod reported that the two adult males, named Donovan and MacKenzie, were successfully fitted recently with solar-powered satellite transmitters with a GPS unit that records hourly locations, speed and direction.
The interactive web-based technology allows near real-time tracking of multiple ospreys as they migrate from their nests in New Hampshire to South America and back, MacLeod said.
Donovan is the father of two young ospreys, named Jill and Chip, who were tagged at a nest near the J.Jill outlet store in Tilton. He was named after the tree company, Donovan's Tree Experts, who conduct most of the science center's tree work. This year, company owner Dallas Wrath spent two days with the research team and gave Bierregaard the "smoothest rides he's ever had to nest," said MacLeod.
A second male, named MacKenzie after Wrath's 17-year-old daughter, was tagged at a nest at Fort Hill along the Connecticut River in Stratford. The daughter got to release Mackenzie after he was fitted with the transmitter.
MacLeod said Bierregaard, who has tracked more than 40 ospreys over the years, will return to New Hampshire in late July when two more chicks will be fitted.
According to the data provided since the transmitters were affixed, Donovan and Mackenzie are already sending data showing where they fish and revealing how large their territories are. Each of the ospreys nests, one at J.Jill and the other at Fort Hill, have three eggs.
In an advisory dated May 30, MacLeod announced that Art and his unnamed female mate became parents: "Break out the stogies! Art is a dad! On Monday morning (May 27), Art's mate was offering morsels of fish to an as-yet-unseen chick in the nest. Later in the day, her behavior suggested that another egg was hatching. Art was on the nest checking out his newly-hatched family with great curiosity. This hatch is right on time; about 36-37 days after the first egg was laid," said MacLeod.
"I won't be able to count heads until the chicks are a week old (the nest is so large and deep). Art will now step up his fishing efforts even more. He's hitting Sky Pond almost daily and up the river towards Plymouth," MacLeod said.
Art was the only osprey that survived the 2012/2013 10,000-mile roundtrip migration from South America.
The project is funded by Public Service of New Hampshire, the Jane B. Cook 1983 Charitable Trust and Squam Lakes Natural Science Center's Innovative Project Fund.
For more information on Project OspreyTracks, maps and progress reports, go to http://www.nhnature.org/programs/project_ospreytrack/osprey_bios.php or to http://www.nhnature.org/programs/project_ospreytrack/osprey_maps.php.
Educators are invited to contact MacLeod to discuss educational program opportunities connected with Project OspreyTrack at Iain MacLeod, Executive Director, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, 23 Science Center Road, PO Box 173, Holderness, NH 03245; by calling 968-7194, ext. 23; or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.