Boulder County’s resident raptors have returned to their nest at the Boulder County Fairground’s Cattail Pond.
People can get a bird’s eye view of the male and female osprey and their anticipated hatchlings this spring season by watching Boulder County Parks & Open Space’s live stream of their home. For the first time, the osprey will also be part of a citizen science project.
With the help of residents, data gathered from watching the raptors will benefit wildlife researchers who want to learn more about the ecosystem and aquatic life across the globe.
After spending the winter months in a warm climate, osprey return to their nest in the spring. Nik Brockman , a web administrator for parks and open space, said the first sighting of the year is an exciting one.
On March 22, the male returned to the nest. The female followed the next day. The resident male has been returning to the nest since 2011 and the female osprey since 2013, according to Jasmine Finks , a volunteer osprey chat moderator.
The osprey live stream is the county’s most viewed webpage. Last year, Brockman said there were 410,000 views counted. County officials hope those watching this year will share what they see with researchers.
“It’s really special that we have a dedicated community of viewers,” Brockman said. “We get a live look into what life is like as an osprey.”
To help with the citizen science project, people watching the live stream are asked to complete a Google Form when they see a fish brought to the nest. The data will be used to compare fish counts, fish species and other observations.
The link to the form can be found by visiting the webcam website. Viewers record when the fish was brought to the nest, the type of fish, if known, and who caught it.
Michael Academia is helping to conduct the project. Academia is an senior majoring in fisheries biology Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. The research, however, is part of his graduate studies at The…
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