Use of Nest Web Cameras and Citizen Science to Quantify Osprey Prey Delivery Rate and Nest Success
Journal of Raptor Research
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Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) are obligate piscivores and their nesting success depends on sufficient amounts of fish delivered to the nests during the breeding season. Nests are considered successful when pairs raise a minimum of one young to fledging or near-fledging age. Through web cameras and online broadcasts of Osprey nests, citizen scientists quantified daily number of fish deliveries, nest survival, and nest success. We received and analyzed curated data (one to seven seasons, 2014–2020) from citizen scientist groups representing 19 Osprey web cameras from four countries in North America and Europe. We compared the average and the coefficient of variation of the number of fish delivered per day within the early breeding season between the failed and successful nests using a Wilcoxon rank-sum test. We also analyzed the effects of the average and the coefficient of variation of the number of fish delivered per day on the number of days of nest survival and whether a nest was successful or not using generalized linear mixed models. Successful and failed nests had significant differences in the average number of fish delivered per day and the failed nests had a higher variation in the number of fish deliveries. Moreover, the variation and average number of fish delivered per day had strong associations with whether a nest would fail or succeed. The global effort and manner in which these data were collected are novel and can further our understanding of this charismatic species. The combination of citizen science and technology is a powerful modern tool that can provide insights and has the potential to advance raptor research worldwide.
Academia, Michael H. and Dalgleish, Harmony J., Use of Nest Web Cameras and Citizen Science to Quantify Osprey Prey Delivery Rate and Nest Success (2022). Journal of Raptor Research, 56(2), 212-219.