The Cape Cod Osprey Project Presentation Recap

Goodie Hallett being released soon after being tagged

On Tuesday January 15th, 2013 at 6:30pm, the Orleans Conservation Trust (OCT) hosted the first of five scheduled presentations associated with our Third Tuesday Winter Lecture Series at the Orleans Yacht Club. Mark Faherty, Science Coordinator for the MA Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sactuary delighted over 70 interested Cape Cod residents with his lecture entitled “The Cape Cod Osprey Project: Voyeuristic Citizen Science.”

As Science Coordinator at the Wellfleet Bay, Mark oversees a variety of research projects concerning different ecological subjects, including oyster reef restoration and turtle monitoring. On Tuesday, Mark’s lecture provided insights into his research on the resurgence of the Osprey population on Cape Cod and included the detailed flight path for Goody Hallett, a juvenile female Osprey that had been tagged in August 2008 in Eastham’s Boat Meadow Marsh, as she flew 4,274 miles over 31 days from the Cape to South America.

Attendees listen as Mark explains how Goodie first left the Cape

For his research, Mark relies on volunteers to monitor the known Osprey nests throughout Cape Goodie Hallett being released soon after being tagged Cod, observe nest activity, and note different behaviors. One of the most important things for the volunteers to track iss how many young Ospreys, or fledglings, are living in each nest. From 2008-2011, Mark noted from his research that 813 chicks fledged, or left the nest. The hot spots of activity, or “chick factories” as Mark calls them, were in Barnstable, Falmouth, and Yarmouth. Mark pointed out that Orleans leaves much to be desired in the Osprey department, which amused the crowd.

Despite lack of Osprey activity in Orleans, the research shows a recovery story for Cape Cod overall. In the 1970’s, there was only 1 or 2 pairs of Osprey on the Cape, but now there are hundreds of pairs. Mark explained that in order to obtain a stable Osprey population, each nest needs to fledge one chick, but his research numbers far exceed that baseline. Due to the increasing number of Osprey on Cape Cod, Mark emphasized that he would appreciate even more volunteers to help with monitoring.

One of the highlights of Mark’s talk was the migration story of a juvenile Osprey named “Goody Hallett”. In August 2008, Goody was tagged on Cape Cod with a solar-powered GPS

She spent a month and a half mostly along the Delaware River before finally heading further south. The rest of her journey followed a characteristic Osprey migration, passing through North Carolina’s Outer Banks before heading to the Bahamas, Cuba, and ultimately South America. Her journey ended in Western Brazil near the Amazon River.

The entire event was a successful start to the OCT’s Tuesday Winter Lecture Series, which will continue on the third Tuesday of each month at the Orleans Yacht Club.

What’s Next? Third Tuesday Winter Lecture Series

Mark Feherty presenting

The Glacial Origins of Cape Cod and the Arrival of the First People

  • When: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 6:30pm-7:30pm (Doors open at 6:00pm for Cash Bar)
  • Where: Orleans Yacht Club, 39 Cove Road, Orleans
  • Guest Speaker: Todd Kelley, 12th generation Cape Codder and employee of the MA De-partment of Conservation and Recreation.
  • Details: Todd will discuss the melting glaciers that formed Cape Cod and how, why, and where the First People lived and adapted as the sea levels rose.