TIOF Guest Speaker Sharing Bird’s Eye View of Osprey Behavior

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

The International Osprey Foundation invites the public to attend this exciting presentation which will anchor its annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 7 at The Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way.

photo by Bryan Watts

Recent TIOF Research Grant recipient Michael Academia will be presenting “Ospreys and Fish Shortages: Food Addition Study Increases Nesting Success in the Lower Chesapeake Bay.” Academia’s research brings him into close contact with nesting Ospreys, so he has a bird’s eye view into their nest life including the distinct roles for female and male ospreys, feeding behavior, chick growth and sibling hierarchy. A graduate student at The Center for Conservation Biology at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va., Academia has combined his passion for these magnificent raptors and his background in fisheries science to study the relationship between food supply and osprey nesting success.

While his research focuses on ospreys in the Chesapeake Bay as biomonitors of fisheries and aquatic health, there is applicability to the Southwest Florida osprey population, which is also vulnerable to various environmental challenges and who serve as sentinel species for the health of our local waters.

The Chesapeake Bay, which supports the largest osprey breeding population in the world, is the area of focus for Academia’s research. The osprey in this region are dependent on the nutrient-dense Atlantic menhaden fish. Commercial fishing in the Bay has reduced the menhaden fish population, impacting osprey provisioning rates and reproductive success.

photo by Bryan Watts

Academia’s research provides insight into how osprey behavior is altered by low fish availability and whether providing menhaden directly to the osprey in their nests can reverse food stress. He studies how the addition of fish into osprey nests impacts the ability of chicks to grow and take their first flight, which is the ultimate success story for ospreys.

TIOF is fortunate to be able to share Academia’s research entitled, with the osprey lovers of “the islands” and surrounding communities. Save the date and bring a friend hear about “Ospreys and Fish Shortages: Food Addition Study Increases Nesting Success in the Lower Chesapeake Bay.” There is no charge to attend. Information on how to become a TIOF member and/or volunteer will be available at the meeting.

For more information about the Sanibel-based TIOF, visit its website.

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