World Migratory Bird Day is a global awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats.
On the closest week end to 10 May each year, people around the world come together in order to take action and organise public events such as bird festivals, education programmes and birdwatching excursions to celebrate the Day.
In the Environmental Studies Department at UIS, Dr. Tih-Fen Ting takes action every day in protecting one species of migratory birds - Ospreys. Dr. Ting shares with us some Osprey facts:
- Ospreys inhabit all continents except Antarctica.
- Ospreys feed almost exclusively on fish and generally do not discriminate among fish species but size.
- They are considered monogamous with a pair bond that lasts at least through a single breeding season, breed when 3 – 4 years old, and can live up to 25 years.
- Most ospreys that breed in North America are long-distance migrants, traveling up to 8,000 km, to and from their wintering areas in the West Indies, Caribbean, South and Central America, and Mexico.
- Population increase and range expansion of ospreys reportedly have occurred since the banning of DDT and other persistent organochlorine pesticides, and with recovery efforts such as hacking. “Hacking” is the process of releasing juvenile raptors in suitable habitats as a way of establishing populations. Reintroduction is a widely adopted conservation practice for recovering threatened or endangered species and restoring ecosystems
Osprey is a state-endangered species in Illinois. Dr. Ting has been working to establish breeding colonies of osprey via hacking at multiple sites in central Illinois since 2013. Over the years, the project has obtained wild osprey chicks for hacking from the federal, state, and NGO collaborators in Virginia, Kentucky, and Massachusetts. The year of 2019 marks the first year of collaboration between Dr. Ting and the South Coast Osprey Project in Massachusetts which provided the chicks from their breeding population for the Illinois osprey hacking project. The Illinois osprey hacking project would not have been possible without the support and assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, UIS, Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Raptor Center, Illinois River Biological Station, Kaskaskia Biological Station, as well as field assistants and volunteers over the years!
If you have questions, feel free to connect with us and request more information!