Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Osprey

CTDEEP Wildlife Division and NYSDEC

Osprey (Nesting Pairs)
CT NY Total
1984 76 222 298
1985 86 258 344
1986 78 288 366
1987 70 300 370
1988 102 330 432
1989 104 370 474
1990 106 382 488
1991 132 418 550
1992 132 464 596
1993 130 494 624
1994 190 494 684
1995 206 460 666
1996 212 500 712
1997 260 546 806
1998 282 576 858
1999 324 580 904
2000 316 604 920
2001 352 544 896
2002 578 578

WHAT IS AN OSPREY?

One of the largest birds of prey in North America, the osprey eats fish almost exclusively. The osprey dives feet-first into water to grab fish from near the surface. Barbed pads on the soles of its feet help it grip slippery fish. It is one of the most widespread birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica. The Osprey readily builds its nest on manmade structures, such as telephone poles, channel markers, duck blinds, and nest platforms designed especially for it. Such platforms have become an important tool in reestablishing Ospreys in areas where they had disappeared. Ospreys breed in a variety of habitats with shallow water and large fish, including boreal forest ponds, desert salt-flat lagoons, temperate lakes, and tropical coasts. They winter along large bodies of water containing fish.

WHAT DOES THIS INDICATE?

Osprey abundance reflects the impacts of management and regulatory actions.

STATUS

The osprey population around Long Island Sound fell sharply during the 1950s and 1960s due to the effects of pesticides, particularly DDT. Since the ban on DDT, which occurred during the 1970s, and the placement of nesting platforms in wetlands all along the Sound, the osprey population has been making a recovery. Since it is no longer an endangered species, state conservationists have stopped tracking the bird’s numbers.

DATA NOTES

Data is no longer being collected and this is now considered a historical indicator.

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An osprey with fish going to its nest at Kings Park on Long Island. Photo by George DeCamp.

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