Jamestown home to five osprey families in 2012
Three new ospreys fledged this year on Conanicut Island, according to a recent report released by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. The three Jamestown raptors were among 178 successfully fledged young in the state last year, the highest number recorded in the monitoring program’s 35-year history.
“The record-setting numbers we witnessed in 2012 are very encouraging,” said July Lewis, program coordinator. “Ospreys feed entirely on fish, so their health is closely tied to the health of Narragansett Bay and other aquatic environments. The return of the osprey is a true environmental success story.”
Of the 11 nest sites observed in Jamestown in 2012, five were active. One osprey fledged at Fox Hill Farm off of Fort Getty Road, and two others fledged on the Palmieri property. The remaining three active nests are used for housekeeping, meaning ospreys return for the season but there is no incubation. Those nests are located at South Pond, Lawn Avenue School and Marsh Meadows.
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island manages the monitoring program, a volunteer network of osprey observers who report on the breeding success. Originally initiated in 1977 by the state Department of Environmental Management, the program was established to track the osprey population as it recovered from the eggshell-thinning effects of a chemical that was legally banned in 1972.
2012 was a banner year for the osprey in the Ocean State. Of 200 known nest sites, 126 of those were active, with 96 producing at least one fledgling. There were 59 inactive nest sites and 15 housekeeping nests. The previous record of fledglings in a calendar year was 171 in 2010.
The town with the greatest number of active nests (18) and fledglings (32) was South Kingstown. Barrington had the second greatest number of active nests (17), with 25 fledglings recorded.