From May 1 to July 31, 2013, people from around the world – at least 112 countries – tuned into one of nature’s great reality shows broadcast live from Orange Beach, Alabama. Via a live-streaming webcam, nature lovers had a bird’s eye view of the osprey couple Allie and Bama as they protected and incubated their eggs and then nurtured their two babies.
As many as 6,500+ viewers a day watched Allie use her massive wing span to shield and protect her eggs and then her hatchlings, Ossie and Aubrie, from the hot sun, potential predators and rain storms.
Several times a day, viewers were treated to Bama’s dramatic returns from fishing expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico or Perdido Bay, both less than a mile from the nest. He would swoop into the nest with a fish in his talons, usually mullet, to feed his family. Until the babies were old enough to feed themselves, Allie and Bama would take turns gently placing pieces of fish in their open mouths.
By mid-July the babies had grown into teenagers, spending more time away from the nest than in it. With the camera now turned off, there is no way to track their progress over the next several months. But it’s safe to assume that Ossie and Aubrie are practicing their flying and fish-catching skills and preparing to find mates of their own.
Osprey tend to mate for life and return to the same nest year after year, so we can hope that Allie and Bama will return next spring for a second season of our osprey family reality show.
The Conservancy and our partners are trying to raise money to continue and even improve upon the webcam project in 2014, as well as fund a range of restoration projects throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
Join our Facebook community for updates on the second season of our osprey reality show!
The osprey is among some 243 bird species that rely on the Gulf of Mexico as nesting, resting and feeding habitat. It is the only North American hawk that feasts almost exclusively on live fish, making the osprey one of nature’s most successful anglers – and an important indicator species for coastal and estuarine health.
The 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.