According to a recent report from the Connecticut Audubon Society on the state’s osprey population, the number of documented osprey nests in Connecticut increased 176% from 2010 to 2014. Ospreys are large predatory raptors that feed mostly on fish and in 1970 there were only eight known nesting pairs in the state. The report credits the population increase to (1) a federal ban on the use of the pesticide DDT in 1972 and (2) volunteer efforts to build osprey platforms and watch over nests.
The 2014 data was acquired through a stewardship program called Osprey Nation, a statewide effort by the Connecticut Audubon Society and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The program has two primary goals: supporting scientific osprey research and building a “citizen science program” to monitor osprey health. It also provides data on the health of the state’s (1) fish population and (2) coastal and inland waterways. The program relies on volunteers (stewards) to observe, gather, and record data; build and maintain nesting stations; and educate the public.