Osprey are clearly thriving in northeastern Massachusetts, according to data from 2019 monitoring by Greenbelt staff and volunteers, who were successful in collecting nesting and productivity data on all known Osprey pairs breeding in northeastern Massachusetts.
Osprey pairs were visible from East Boston to Salisbury occupying and rebuilding old nests or constructing new nests.
In all, the population of breeding Osprey in northeastern Massachusetts in 2019 was 49 pairs, a 6.5 percent increase from 2018, and a 63 percent increase since 2014 when there were 30 pairs.
Young Osprey are certainly being recruited into the population and first-time nesting pairs are benefiting from the increased number of nesting platforms available to them.
Most pairs laid eggs in April and were observed incubating through May and into June. Nesting pairs with chicks were observed in many locations in June and the first fledglings were observed in July.
Chick survival was relatively high in 2019, with 59 fledglings observed, which translates to an overall productivity rate of 1.4 fledgling per pair for the 43 pairs that produced eggs.
Some nesting attempts failed in May and others in June, resulting in nest abandonment. Great-Horned Owls were confirmed as a nest predator at one nest and suspected at several others.
Most of the resident adult and juvenile Osprey departed northeastern Massachusetts on their southward migration between late August to early October.
Thousands were able to watch Greenbelt's OspreyCam online, where Osprey adults Annie and Squam nested on a platform located in Gloucester near the LobstaLand Restaurant.
The pair hatched one egg, and eventually fledged one chick - named River. River was banded before he fledged and left the nest in late summer.
Greenbelt’s Osprey Program was established in 2010 to improve Osprey conservation in northeastern Massachusetts. Over the years, Greenbelt has built and installed dozens of new nesting platforms, while also repairing existing platforms and assisting private landowners, towns and others wishing to install their own nesting platforms.
Greenbelt will continue the Osprey Program in 2020.