Chesapeake Conservancy Announces Release of Osprey Photo Documentary

Annapolis, MD – The Chesapeake Conservancy today announced the release of Inside an Osprey’s Nest: A Photographic Journey through Nesting Season, a book written by Teena Ruark Gorrow and Craig A. Koppie. This documentary was published by Schiffer Publishing and is available for purchase through the Conservancy’s website. It features photos from the nest of Tom and Audrey—an osprey couple that lives on a nest platform on Kent Island and also stars in the Conservancy’s popular Osprey Cam—during the spring and summer nesting season in 2015.

Koppie, a raptor biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Gorrow, a professor of teacher education at Salisbury University, utilized a small blind, photographing the daily lives of the osprey from mid summer until they left the region on their fall migration in September.

They also observed the ospreys’ daily activities through the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Osprey Family Nest Cam. The two then collaborated to document the story of the 2015 season, including a successful adoption of two chicks, which were named Maine and Montana by webcam fans.

This is the second book Koppie and Gorrow have collaborated on, the first being a similar photo documentary called Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest. This first title of their series won the prestigious 2014 Green Earth Book Award.

“It was truly an honor to work with the Chesapeake Conservancy and the Crazy Osprey Family to document Tom and Audrey’s 2015 nesting season. The nest cam provided an amazing opportunity to observe the dedicated osprey parents raise a family. I felt inspired by the pair’s perseverance and commitment, and cheered as Maine and Montana took first flight. Seeing the empty nest at the end of the season was bittersweet, but saying goodbye to the young meant that they successfully graduated into the wild,” Gorrow said.

“For those of us living on the Chesapeake Bay, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about wearing green and perhaps enjoying a pint. It’s also the day to start listening for the distinctive call of our beloved ospreys, who have journeyed back from South America to give us another summer of enjoyment,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said.

“A recent report from the Washington Post on the effects of climate change on these and other bird species gives the Chesapeake Conservancy more motivation for our work,” Dunn continued. “Not all of us can spend months in a blind painstakingly photographing the daily activities of an osprey’s nest, but thanks to Craig and Teena we can all feel like we’ve had that opportunity. We’re so grateful for their educational books and for the dedicated conservationists whose work helps to ensure that future generations will know these majestic birds, many of which can be seen while visiting the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.”

Found on every continent except Antarctica, osprey (Pandion haliaetus) migrate thousands of miles each year to and from Central and South America, mate for life, and return to the same spot year after year, despite spending the winter apart from each other.

After an almost 90% decline in population from 1950-1970, osprey populations have rebounded due in large part to conservation efforts and the banning of DDT. Osprey can be a valuable indicator species for monitoring the long-term health of the Chesapeake Bay because their diet consists almost entirely of fish and they are sensitive to many environmental contaminants.

The Chesapeake Conservancy uses its live-streaming osprey webcam to connect people to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and demonstrate the importance of protecting and conserving habitats that sustain wildlife and plants, as well as people in the region.

The Chesapeake Conservancy is selling the book through the “store” tab on the organization’s website, Ten dollars from every purchase on the Conservancy’s website will go toward the Conservancy’s conservation programs.