Kent Island Ospreys Successfully Foster Chicks - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Island Ospreys Successfully Foster Chicks

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KENT ISLAND, Md. – A nesting pair of osprey living along the shores of Kent Island has become foster parents to two osprey chicks.

The Chesapeake Conservancy announced Wednesday that despite Tom and Audrey's recent conception of three nonviable eggs, the new mates will have chicks in their nest after all.

Dr. Paul Spitzer, an ornithologist with more than thirty years of experience working with ospreys, was the first to suggest the possibility of fostering for Tom and Audrey.

The ospreys' behavior was observed via webcam by Craig Koppie, a raptor biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Chesapeake Bay Field Office, who determined they were good candidates for fostering.

Next came the question of where the foster chicks would come from. In May, USFWS biologists visited a nest on Poplar Island home to four osprey chicks. Koppie determined that foster parents would be necessary, as four chicks is a lot to raise successfully.

On Wednesday morning, the two chicks with the greater body mass and weight were removed from the donor nest and placed into Tom and Audrey's nest. Biologists watched as the couple accepted the new osprey chicks as their own.

“It's been a real cliffhanger this season for those watching Tom and Audrey, filled with ups and downs,” said Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “There's a new ‘Tom' this year. There was joy and then sadness with nonviable eggs. Now there's an opportunity for Tom and Audrey to help by fostering two chicks that were removed from an ill-fated nest.”

Dunn says this is great news for the roughly 8,000 people viewing the Chesapeake Conservancy's osprey and falcon webcams every day and for the homeowners who host Tom and Audrey's nest, who go by the moniker Crazy Osprey Family.

“This is the first time in twenty years that we did not have at least one egg hatch in our nest, they said. "It has been very hard for us to look out our window every day and see Tom and Audrey so diligently sitting on their eggs through wind, rain and blistering heat when we knew the eggs were no longer viable."

The public can view Tom and Audrey and the two foster chicks on the Chesapeake Conservancy's osprey webcam at www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/osprey-cam and read a blog written by the Crazy Osprey Family.

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