EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 8, 2014

Bird of prey on rise locally

Nonprofit is tracking osprey


“I’ve seen eight osprey flying at once off Forest River Park,” said Steve Saxe, a volunteer observer from Marblehead, who has photographed and documented nests in Salem and Marblehead.

The Greenbelt stirred up some excitement last year when it set up a webcam on a platform in a salt marsh next to its Essex headquarters, streaming live video. The nesting birds were viewed more than 60,000 times. The live video became a mini-drama, with three eggs producing only one chick, which died.

Two young ospreys were tagged last year with small transmitters to allow officials to follow their migration. The signal was lost from one bird, which presumably died, while the other is still on the move.

“It left from Gloucester and wound its way down the Atlantic coast and is now on the northern coastline of Venezuela,” Rimmer said.

The bird’s progress can be followed at the Greenbelt’s website at ecga.org.

The Greenbelt took on the osprey project not only because they are magnificent birds, but because they serve as a barometer of the environment.

“They are an indicator of the health of a coastal ecosystem,” Rimmer said.

The ospreys will start returning in late March.

Nesting osprey pairs in Essex County Marblehead 2 Salem 1 Danvers 1 Gloucester 1 Essex 4 Ipswich 6 Rowley 4 Newbury 2 Newburyport 1 Salisbury 4 2013 Total 26

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