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Tweet for Ospreys – nature’s indicators of water quality health

The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan seeks volunteer citizen scientists equipped with smart phones to help locate and monitor Osprey’s nests around the Bay of Quinte.

The goal is to establish a long-term monitoring program to ensure the Osprey population remains healthy and abundant.

Why monitor ospreys?

“Because Ospreys eat fish almost exclusively, and are considered indicators of water quality health,” said Sarah Midlane-Jones, of the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan. “Changes in the number of nesting pairs and number of chicks produced and fledged can reflect changes in aquatic ecosystem health.”

Once, the widespread use of DDT brought these great raptors to the brink of extinction, she said. “But with a ban, in the 1970s, on this toxic pesticide and the efforts of federal and provincial governments, conservation authorities, groups, and individuals the Ospreys have made a dramatic comeback.”

This project utilizes social media (Twitter) and geo-location technologies. Citizen scientists are being asked to use their smart phones to capture details about Ospreys that include: nest locations, whether the nest is active or not, the number of fledglings and departure dates for the fall migration.

The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan is in the process of changing the status of several of the fish and wildlife environmental challenges identified for the Bay to “unimpaired”. One way the public can help maintain healthy and diverse fish and wildlife populations and habitats is by participating as citizen scientists.

“The return of this top predator to the Bay of Quinte and their successful nesting is a sign of a healthy ecosystem,” said Midlane-Jones. “Collecting data on how the Ospreys are doing, will assist us with ensuring the Bay doesn’t return to the conditions that required a Remedial Action Plan in the first place.”

It’s a simple process. First, ensure that the location settings are activated on the smart phone, then open Twitter, select Tweet, then click the Location tag and Share precise location. Next, compose your tweet, add your pictures and use the hashtags #bqrap and #osprey and post them.

Make sure you complete your post from the nest site, otherwise the post will not be accurately located.

The tricky part is remembering to make sure you click on both location settings. Now, you are a citizen scientist!

Visit the nest sites throughout the season and post comments and photos of the birds for everyone to enjoy. Visit the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan web site for details www.bqrap.ca

Or contact: Sarah Midlane-Jones, Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, 613-394-3915 ext. 214, smidlanejones@bqrap.ca

The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan is in partnership locally with Lower Trent Conservation and Quinte Conservation.

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