A recent article on EastBayRI.com reports that the osprey population in Westport, MA, is thriving thanks to years of nurturing by MassAudubon and other environmental groups and concerned citizens. Indeed, there are now more osprey in Westport and neighboring South Dartmouth during the warm months than there have been in many decades—perhaps centuries.
In 2022, 111 nests and 104 active breeding pairs were observed on the Westport River and nearby Allens Pond. Seventy-one of those nests were successful, with 156 total birds fledged. By the way, the oldest osprey observed in the Westport population was a 21-year-old individual.
Audubon has monitored and managed the nearly 100 osprey nesting platforms in Westport and Dartmouth over the past 19 years. Today, there are more nests than available platforms, but the birds are nesting in trees and on other structures.
2022 also marked the 4th year of Mass Audubon’s collaboration with the Illinois “osprey hacking” program, which aims to restore osprey in Illinois by translocating young from more robust populations. On July 13, volunteers contributed their time and their docks to help collect 12 carefully selected chicks from the Westport River, which then traveled by charter plane to Illinois for eventual release in the wild.