WHO WE ARE
Our organization, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy (Harbor Conservancy for short), supports and runs programs at the National Parks in New York City. One of our programs is the Osprey tracking project we call "Osprey's Journey." Dr. Bob Kennedy, an Osprey expert who has been studying the species since the 1970s, is our scientific advisor.
THE PROJECT IN A NUTSHELL
Roughly a year ago, we put a tiny satellite tracking device on a young male Osprey named C2, who nests at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in NYC. We tracked him through one migration cycle to his wintering grounds in Venezuela and back and want to track him for one more year.
We also want to continue sharing the science and the story on our website OspreysJourney.com, where we give visitors the chance to witness C2's miraculous 2,700-mile migration and the challenges he faces during the nesting season -- from mating and chick-rearing to foraging for fish in safe areas, far from the dangers of city life.
Expanding the Osprey knowledge base
By tracking individual Ospreys, as we are doing with C2, scientists answer questions critical to understanding the species and ensuring its survival.
Raising public awareness about wildlife needs in urban areas
By telling C2's story on OspreysJourney.com, we waken people to the wildlife sharing their cities and towns and educate them on the importance of preserving habitat.
Connecting people with nature
We offer website visitors an intimate, soul-stirring, connection with nature that would otherwise be out of reach.
Photo by Don Riepe.
Ospreys are just one of many species of wildlife that spend part or all of the year in Jamaica Bay. This picture shows an egret within sight of the Empire State Building.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
Our website has received nearly 100,000 pageviews by around 21,000 individual visitors. Over 10,000 visits have resulted from Facebook sharing.
Our Osprey newsletter has over 1,000 subscribers and astronomical open and click rates, showing unusually strong interest and involvement on the part of our core audience.
WHY WE WANT TO CONTINUE
- To study the variation in C2's migration, mating, parenting and fishing behaviors from year to year so we can discover how he learns and changes in response to his experiences.
- To continue shining a spotlight on Ospreys and other wildlife living among us and reach an even larger audience.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We started the project in Spring 2012 with a bird named Coley whom we intended to track for two years. Unfortunately, after the first year, a potential safety issue developed with the backpack holding the transmitter in place. Coley was fine, but we had to start over with a different Osprey -- C2. This turned what was supposed to be a two-year project into a three-year one, so we ran out of funds.
We need $22,000 to track C2 for the 2nd year. If we get it, we will:
- Download and interpret the GPS data every few days during migration and every 2-4 weeks while C2 is at his nesting site and winter grounds.
- Gather periodic observations from the field while C2 is at the nest site.
- Tell the story of C2's travels on the Osprey's Journey website.
- Share highlights of C2's adventures in our Osprey's Journey newsletter and on the Harbor Conservancy's Facebook page.
- Share our research with other scientists and naturalists and with the National Park Service and American Littoral Society so they can continue to make the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge as hospitable as possible to Ospreys.
Photo by Don Riepe.
America's Osprey population plummeted in the mid-20th century due to DDT use, which interfered with Osprey reproduction. Eventually, DDT was banned, but recovery was still hindered by encroaching development on former habitat. Environmentalists have been addressing the problem by erecting artificial platforms where Ospreys can nest. Some 20 such platforms, like this one, have been put to good use by Osprey pairs at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
OUR WAY OF THANKING YOU
We have some really exciting perks for campaign supporters, including tickets to a sunset eco-cruise of Jamaica Bay; an original Osprey watercolor by artist, naturalist and National Park Ranger Dave Taft; a private phone call on all things Osprey with our project scientist Dr. Bob Kennedy; a boat ride to C2's nesting site; and a special Osprey-themed group walking tour of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. See the full list on the right. There are perks for gifts at all levels, including, in every case, our heartfelt thanks.
If we are not able to meet our goal entirely, we will scale back on the amount of data interpretation and reporting we do. For instance, we might check in on C2 less frequently during the winter or skip the winter reporting entirely and only report on him during migration (or, if necessary, only during the return migration next Spring).
If the transmitter that tracks C2's movements is damaged or fails for some reason, our tracking will necessarily come to an end. However, we will still be able to watch for his return to Jamaica Bay and report on it on our website.
The big "if" that we hate talking about is the possibility that C2 could be injured and die -- a risk that comes with any wildlife tracking project. All we can say is that if this should happen, we would interpret the data, surmise what we can and report what happened as best we understand it.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
You can give our campaign a big boost by getting the word out to your friends and family. There are share tools right at the top of the page (underneath the video) to make it easy!
* Wondering who made our wonderful campaign video? It was Simba Productions and we highly recommend them!