Ospreys’ population decline in Atlantic Ocean
ContextAccording to recent findings, there has been lowest reproductive number in more than 50 years of monitoring the local population of the Ospreys ‘a raptor’.
- This decline has happened due to shortage of fish species named ‘Atlantic menhaden’ and food for them.
- Ospreys are very large, distinctively shaped hawks. Despite their size, their bodies are slender, with long, narrow wings and long legs.
- Ospreys are brown above and white below, and overall they are whiter than most raptors.
- From below, the wings are mostly white with a prominent dark patch at the wrists.
- The head is white with a broad brown stripe through the eye.
- Juveniles have white spots on the back and buffy shading on the breast.
- Ospreys reside around nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs.
- Their conspicuous stick nests are placed in the open on poles, channel markers, and dead trees, often over water.
- These fishes are found in coastal and estuarine waters from Nova Scotia to northern Florida, Atlantic menhaden play many important roles.
- They are filter feeders, primarily consuming phytoplankton and zooplankton in the water column. Menhaden support an important commercial fishery.
- They constitute the largest landings, by volume, along the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
- Menhaden are harvested for use as fertilizers, animal feed, and bait for fisheries including blue crab and lobster.
- They are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, so they are also used to develop human and animal supplements.
- In estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, they are food for striped bass and other fish, as well as for predatory birds, including osprey and eagles.