The Ospreys Are Back

Acrostic Poem for the OSPREY

O verhead an osprey swoops so close we can see its shadow on the ground
S pring is here and the ospreys have returned to this wetland to have their babies
P arenting is something they are good at; they are vigilant and patient
R escued from near extinction by caring scientists and nature lovers they now flourish
E very year they return to the same nest or rebuild one in the same spot
Y ou will not be disappointed if you take the trouble to find them!

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On Friday, despite a cold, raw, cloudy day, my daughter and I set out on one of our nature walks. We were disappointed that the weather was still so unspringlike, but determined to enjoy ourselves and lift our spirits. We headed for one of our absolute favorite locations…the Lloyd Neck Causeway which links the Lloyd Neck peninsula to the Huntington mainland. Along the mile-long causeway there is a vast wetlands area on one side and a rocky beach on the other side that meets the waters of an inlet of the Long Island Sound.

No sooner had we parked than an osprey swooped right over our heads warning us not to get too close to its nest.  We watched as two pairs of ospreys soared high overhead scanning the wetlands for fish to swoop down upon. Ospreys are also known as fish hawks because of their dietary preference, and we have sometimes seen one perched in a tree fileting a large fish with its sizable talons.

Ospreys have made a remarkable comeback from near-extinction following the introduction, in 1945, of the pesticide DDT used to eradicate agricultural pests. The chemical made the egg shells so fragile the ospreys were unable to produce full-term offspring. When the blunder was finally discovered, nature lovers raised a hue and cry and conservationists went to great lengths to ban DDT. IN 1972 DDT was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency.  (Wildlife Journal Junior)

http://www.nhptv.org/wild/silentspring.asp

In 1981 there were 8000 breeding pairs of ospreys.  By 1994 that number had risen to 14, 246 pairs. In many wetland areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties, you can see the tall poles erected by local conservationists with platforms built expressly so that ospreys can build their giant nests upon them.

And so, my daughter and I look forward to their return each year because it is a small miracle that they are still here. We were richly rewarded for our effort to get out and welcome them back. We will visit them often during the coming breeding season.

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10 thoughts on “The Ospreys Are Back”

  1. I think I will share this post with my kids today. we were reading “Mosquito Bit” by Alexandra Siy and it mentions that DDT is controversial but the most effective killer of mosquitoes. I explained what controversy meant and why DDT was controversial. This will be an excellent real-life example.

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  2. Osprey’s are indeed magnificent, and having them recover is absolutely wonderful.
    To add a complication, they also like to nest in power lines and on telephone poles, where they can foul the wires and even cause short circuits. Being fierce raptors, they attack any attempted repair or removal with razor sharp claws and beaks. Returning to the same nest year after year, they make it bigger and bigger. This is more comical than menacing, at least if you are not the repair person, but it demonstrates how everything we accomplish, even for good, has unintended consequences in our complex environment.

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  3. What a magnificent show you are treated to each year! Get daring Barbara, you can figure out how to add a photo to your posts. Google directions to add photo to wordpress. Good luck! 🙂

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  4. I love your acrostic and piece. The return of the osprey is a sure sign of spring in New England. My mom lives on an inlet off Long Island Sound and the same thing happens there. I wish I lived closer so I could see the return and the nest when the babies are small.
    Walks always provide writing ideas don’ they?

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  5. Hi Barbara! I love your piece, as usual. I also love how the ospreys are patient and vigilant parents and then your second part features you and your daughter exploring nature together. It’s so awesome that other teachers/writers will be able to use this story in their classrooms for a real life example! Look forward to hearing your voice each Tuesday.

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  6. Hi Barbara! I love your piece, as usual. I also love how the ospreys are patient and vigilant parents and then your second part features you and your daughter exploring nature together. It’s so awesome that other teachers/writers will be able to use this story in their classrooms for a real life example! Look forward to hearing your voice each Tuesday.

    Like

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