Tom and Audrey have become the Chesapeake’s newest and most popular reality TV stars.
This charismatic duo, living on the Eastern Shore, is popular with more than locals. The Chesapeake Conservancy’s Osprey Cam has been watched in 48 different countries since its launch at the end of March.
Viewers have watched Tom and Audrey return to the Chesapeake, build their nest, mate and lay four cinnamon-and-cream-colored eggs.
Soon you’ll be able to watch the eggs hatch, the chicks grow and learn to fly before they migrate thousands of miles south for the winter.
Ospreys return each year to the same nest site. Tom and Audrey have been at this one since 2009. This is their first time to lay four eggs.
Osprey success tells us a lot about the health of the Bay. Because they eat mostly fish, they are sensitive to contaminants. In the mid-1900s, DDT severely reduced their population. Since then, osprey numbers have rebounded, and Audrey’s four-egg clutch tells us that their area is rich in fish.
After about 38 days of incubation, the hatching is happening. Via the Osprey Cam, you can watch.
The Osprey Cam shows real-time, clear footage, complete with sound. You’ll soon hear the hungry cries of chicks and Audrey’s nagging calls telling Tom to bring back more fish. The survival of all four chicks will depend on Tom’s fishing skills.
After hatching, it will take weeks for the chicks to lose their baby feathers and about seven to eight weeks for them to learn to fly. Tune into the show to see it all happen.
The Chesapeake Conservancy, an Annapolis-based non-profit, works to connect people to the watershed and to conserve the Chesapeake’s special places. The same is made possible by Skyline Technology Solutions, Earth Security Electronics, Investigative Options Inc. and the shared Earth Foundation.
Watch the Osprey cam, join the chick-naming contest or read a blog with behind-the-scenes information about the osprey family: www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/osprey-cam.