Citizen scientists help photograph, document osprey movement in Connecticut

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ESSEX--It's osprey mating season, and that means a lot of action for those involved in documenting and caring for the birds.

Novice photographer Joseph Sina is looking for something with a little more movement to capture.

"Some sort of action--where either it's going for a fish, it's feeding it’s young, it’s doing something," Sina said of why he likes to photograph ospreys.

The ospreys have been back in the state since March nesting, mating and breeding.

Genevieve Nuttall is with the Audubon Society and is part of their "Citizen Science Osprey Program," which includes being on the lookout for birdwatchers to find out what they've seen.

"For every nest that we have mapped, we want someone to watch this nest and report on whether the nest is active and has a pair breeding on it," Nuttall said.

So Sina, who recently retired, has been spending a lot of time volunteering and decided to sign up as a birdwatcher.

"Usually it entails getting up early, because that's when the birds are most active, and standing there for anywhere from five to 15 minutes and just observing what the bird does," Sina said.

For the stewards of osprey nation, the opportunity to monitor the birds means much more than being able to get a good photograph. For them, it’s a chance to help keep tabs on the population of ospreys in Connecticut,  which back in the 70s, was as low as just eight nesting pairs. Now, they’re back up to 500 pairs, and while that may seem like a great comeback, that’s still half of where it should be.

The Citizen Science Osprey Program has 120 stewards watching 300 nests, but there are still approximately 250 more nests to be watched.

According to Nuttall, "The Connecticut River has a lot of osprey nests, it's in pretty good condition. And it's really important to keep monitoring them to make sure that their population actually remains in good condition."

To volunteer or learn more, click here.