OSPREY REALITY TV
This summer viewers can tune into the second season of nature’s most addictive reality show. Via a live-streaming webcam, watch an osprey family atop a man-made platform along Alabama’s Gulf Coast in Orange Beach.
Last year, viewers were treated to the antics of osprey couple Allie and Bama as they nurtured two young chicks to maturity. While fans can still see the osprey pair this year (click here), we have added a new camera focused on an active man-made osprey nest overlooking Wolf Bay.
The new camera has an infrared component, which allows fans to watch the nighttime activities of two new feathered stars, Josie and Elbert, and their three chicks. Online viewers helped name the babies in a recent online contest. The winning names were: Wynken, Blynken and Nod.
Check out the camera in the early morning during your coffee break or during lunchtime around noon to share a meal with Wynken, Blynken and Nod as they will be likely eating at these times. Watch the show, escape into the wonderful world of nature and then join our Facebook community to share your thoughts on our special osprey family.
WHY WOLF BAY?
Wolf Bay is an estuary where fresh water and salt water mix creating a biologically rich environment that supports an array of fish and wildlife. The waters of Wolf Bay flow into the Intracoastal Waterway and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico, which support some 243 bird species – including the osprey.
The osprey – also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle – is the only North American raptor that feasts almost exclusively on live fish, making it one of nature’s most successful anglers – and an important indicator species for coastal and estuarine health.
Osprey populations rebounded after pesticides poisoned the birds and caused their eggshells to thin from the 1950s to the 1970s. Shoreline development and tree removal limited their natural nesting sites, so scientists have constructed platforms like the one at Orange Beach to provide a safe and sturdy location for osprey to nest and nurture their young.
"Ospreys tend to roost near electrical transformers, probably because the top is flat," said Rauf Bolden, director of IT, web development and mobile applications for the City of Orange Beach. "So to counter a raft of outages from the ospreys, Baldwin EMC installed poles with platforms in good locations, like the one at Wolf Bay, for the birds. It seems to work well."
The birds are still at risk as they face a potential food crisis as fisheries are in jeopardy.
The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to restore vital coastal and estuarine habitats throughout the Gulf – oyster reefs, seagrass beds, sand dunes, coral reefs, marshes and bird areas. This work is critical for re-building Gulf fisheries that are essential to human communities and native wildlife like the osprey.
This project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through The Nature Conservancy and the Alabama Coastal Foundation. Computer hardware and bandwidth supplied by the City of Orange Beach. Thanks to Baldwin EMC for the osprey platform and Harbor Communications for support to install the new camera.