Osprey Monitoring Project

In December 2022 and January 2023, just prior to nesting season, the Sea Island Flyfishers once again sought volunteers from our membership to monitor osprey nests throughout Beaufort County. You may still sign up by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.

This project was created in 2009 by the Low Country Institute of the Spring Island Trust in partnership with the Sea Island Flyfishers with the goal of using the nesting success of ospreys as an indicator of the overall health of the greater Port Royal Sound watershed. Volunteers from the LowCountry Master Naturalist Association, Fripp Audubon, Hilton Head Audubon, and Parris Island Natural Resources have also participated in the project.

The data we gather are contributed to a world-wide osprey nest monitoring database managed by the College of William and Mary as part of the Osprey Watch program. We use their simple, online data reporting site to easily submit osprey observations. The mission of Osprey Watch is to collect information on a large enough spatial scale to be useful in addressing three of the most pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems including depletion of fish stocks, global climate change and environmental contaminants. This mission matches perfectly with the original goal of our osprey monitoring project and your data represent a valuable contribution to the Osprey Watch program.

Ideally, you should plan to observe the nest at least once each month from February through July. However, if you have the time or see the nest often, more frequent observations are encouraged. Even if you don’t observe as frequently, whatever data you can report will be helpful. The types of observations that you will report (you may not know all of these items, just report what you do know):

  • Date of pair arrival
  • Date of egg laying
  • Date of incubation initiation
  • Date of clutch hatching
  • Date of nest failure
  • Reason for nest failure
  • Number of nestlings
  • Date of first chick fledging
  • Number of fledglings
  • Date chicks last observed at nest

You may also post photos and write a log of your observations

The Sea Island Fly Fishers, as anglers and committed stewards of our marine environment, we are proud to be part of this most worthwhile project. When you sign up, you will be contacted and provided instructions on how to register and enter observations in the Osprey Watch Program’s web-based international database.