We Interrupt This Osprey

head-resting-baby-osprey
I know you came to help me, and I’mma let you finish, but I’mma¬†napping ūüėź

Highlights from The 2016 Barnegat Bay Osprey Survey with Osprey Hero Ben Wurst of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ.

ben-wurst-in-the-clouds
I know ur¬†fixing my house, and I’mma let you finish, but I’mma try to¬†poop on you and steal yer hat.
ospry-in-eel-grass
I know you’re trying to play dead there, and I’mma let you finish, but for the record¬†I see you’re alive there. It’s in the eyes.
osprey-eye-membrane
I know you’re trying to see if I’mma alive, and I’mma let you finish, but I’mma gonna close my eyes so you think I’mma dead.
osprey-bug-in-eye
Fail. This baby Osprey only manages to close her nictitating membrane; the transparent eyelid that acts like a windshield. Looks like it’s working. She stopped a bug.
osprey-watching-ben
I know you’re a little annoyed, and I’mma let you finish, but I come in peace.
ben-wurst-nest-check
I know you’re patriotic, but I’mma not gonna let you finish. Your flag has dangerous fishing line and hooks attached to it, so I’mma throw it out. I’m taking it and adding it to the huge bin of dangerous trash I’ve been removing from nests all day.
leaning-platform
I know you’re falling over, and I’mma let you finish, but I’mma comin’¬†back this winter and repairing you.
ben-returns-ospreys-fish
I know you dropped your fish, but I’mma let you finish. Ben Wurst actually splashed around in the muck to retrieve this fish an Osprey dropped, and returned it to its nest. It takes a lot of calories to catch a fish. Every little bit counts. That’s 110% integrity right there. Way to go Ben.
osprey-with-sponge
Especially when you have huge babies to feed.
osprey-feathers
Buff Feather Tips. The mark of a Juvenile Osprey.
osprey-smack
I know you’re trying to take a picture, and I’mma let you finish, but first I’mma give your¬†camera the smack down.
osprey-stare
Find the pinecone.
red-band-osprey-02D
Find the Red Band.
osprey-self-portrait
Find Me.

Cruising around Barnegat Bay interrupting Osprey for the annual survey is the high point of the summer. Ben collected huge piles of dangerous trash, tightened up weather-worn platforms, and marked the failing platforms that will break his back this winter when he repairs them. But the highlight of the ceremonies was the deployment of 60 brightly colored, easily readable Red Bands that allow scientists and locals to work together to stalk our Osprey and keep tabs on our wild neighbors.

It’s a big¬† honor to be part of and to witness the long tradition of humans interrupting and annoying Osprey. It all started with the “Big Interruption” when we accidentally killed all of them by dumping DDT all over the coast. Then that magic day came when Pete McLain, the Great Interrupter of the Bay, the Kanye of Osprey Interruption, realized that if we could kill them all with our interruptions, we also had the power to save them by the same. Thus was born the long tradition of using our powers of interruption and disturbance intelligently to help the Osprey instead of using those powers sloppily to destroy them.

Ben Wurst carries that flame today. I’m proud to report it’s all still working. While the final data and counts won’t be in for a while, finding no dead Osprey and tons of big, fat, healthy looking babies sure felt great. My amateur take on the current¬†state of¬†our fish-mangling monsters is “Jammin’!” to “Quite Jammin’!”

We’re at such a great crossroads in the recovery of Osprey. It is really¬†starting to smell like a bonafide success story. While the whole world seems to be¬†in some kind of panic over stuff like warming and dirty water and how we are making such a mess of our collective bed, the story of our local Osprey is a great case study in how we have the power to shake things up; how we have choices. The first step is to acknowledge¬†there are tons of people on a tiny planet and that we are totally annoying and disruptive to the wild without even trying. So let’s be intentionally annoying! Let’s be intelligently disruptive.

We can blame the total annihilation of Osprey on annoying humans, but now we can credit those same annoying humans with their comeback. We may have cut down all the Cedar Trees they once lived in so we could build monster vacation homes, but we also built all of the platforms they live on today. We may leave tons of balloons and fishing line all over the beach which winds up strangling all the babies, but we also check the nests and clean it up. In the end, when it comes to Osprey, less dead babies is always way better than more dead babies.

Don’t let this awesome tradition of interrupting the lives of Osprey get interrupted. Please, please, pretty please, show a little love to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey with a tax deductible donation so Ben can keep jammin’.

And now, I’mma let you finish whatever it was you were doing before I interrupted you with this post.