How does studying this top predator help scientists understand the effects of toxics in the Bay ecosystem?

Ospreys are a top fish-eating predator in the Chesapeake Bay and a sentinel species of environmental health. By studying their diet and behavior, scientists can learn more about the effects of chemical contaminants on the Bay ecosystem. Scientist Rebecca Lazarus with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center takes us to Poplar Island, Maryland, to show us how she conducts contamination studies on the local osprey population and to explain why the bird is so important to researchers.

One of the most widespread birds on earth, ospreys can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. The Bay has one of the largest breeding populations of osprey in the world, and is home to the “fish hawk” from spring through late summer. Learn more about osprey in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s online Field Guide.

  • Produced by Steve Droter
  • Additional footage by Peter McGowan/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Music/Audio: "A Moment of Jazz" by Ancelin

Comments (1)

Linda Westerman
April 16, 2014

I found this short video very informative. I’ve been watching an osprey cam and this adds a lot to my knowledge. It was great to see these birds so up close in this video and see their size in comparison to humans and other objects. You could understand the size of the wingspan as well. They are much larger than I thought. Thanks for producing this!

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