ANNAPOLIS — The Chesapeake Conservancy announced Friday, March 20, that Audrey, half of a nesting pair of osprey who make their Maryland home along the shores of Kent Island, had returned from a long winter in South America. Tom joined her on Monday, March 23.

Their platform was severely damaged during a recent winter storm. Repairs to the platform were completed March 19 as the osprey waited patiently on a neighbor’s dock. They have now moved in, and you can follow these beautiful birds as they start to build their nest on the new platform.

The public may view the osprey webcam at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/osprey-cam, and read the entertaining “Osprey Camera Blog.”

Recently, the Chesapeake Conservancy launched another live wildlife webcam featuring peregrine falcons living on the 33rd-floor ledge of the Transamerica skyscraper at 100 Light Street in downtown Baltimore. The public can view the peregrine falcons at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/peregrine-falcon-webcam.

“We are thrilled with the public’s enthusiasm for Tom and Audrey. Last year, we had more than 500,000 visitors view the web cam from 123 countries worldwide,” said Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “We couldn’t ask for better ambassadors than Tom and Audrey to encourage people to get out and experience wildlife along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Part of our mission at Chesapeake Conservancy is to strengthen the connection between people and the watershed, because when you care about something, you help take care of it. We hope that viewers of the osprey cam will go on to support measures such as Program Open Space and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, programs that provide habitats for wildlife.”

The Chesapeake Conservancy gave special thanks to Skyline Technology Solutions, for managing the video stream, installing and setting up the camera, Investigative Options Inc., for maintaining the camera, the Shared Earth Foundation, Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage Inc., for quickly repairing the osprey platform, and “The Crazy Osprey” family who generously host the platform and equipment and write the blog.

Found on every continent except Antarctica, osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are one of the Chesapeake’s most amazing birds for a number of reasons. They 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 percent 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. To make sure these magnificent Bay residents continue to thrive, we are working to ensure that river corridors remain protected and that the Chesapeake Bay can support abundant fish populations.

To learn more about osprey and the Bay’s other amazing creatures use the National Wildlife Refuge App, or visit a park or refuge to see them in the wild.

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