PropTalk Magazine June 2019

Page 26


Reality TV for Chesapeake Wildlife Lovers


hat’s better than watching the Bachelor or Kardashians? Wildlife webcams! Three such cams are made possible through a partnership between and Chesapeake Conservancy, along with property hosts including Transamerica, The Crazy Osprey Family, and the property owner where the great blue heron rookery is located. Chesapeake Conservancy helps people connect with nature and connect with the Chesapeake Bay through its wildlife webcams, which feature osprey, peregrine falcons, and great blue herons. Nearly 10 million viewers from all over the world watched the cams in 2018, including countries like Iceland, Ghana, the Cayman Islands, Armenia, China, and Belize. The osprey and peregrine stories are true conservation success stories. With both the peregrine and the osprey once facing near eradication in the 1970s, due to the effects of DDT, today they have rebounded in the Chesapeake thanks to the ban on DDT and the careful work of ornithologists and conservationists such as The Peregrine Fund. Tom and Audrey, Osprey: Audrey returned on March 19 at 7 p.m., while Tom returned a week later on March 25 at 7:11 am. This season, viewers have watched Tom and Audrey fortify their nest, mate, and now Audrey is incubating three eggs. Tom hunts fish and brings them to Audrey and eventually will bring food to the chicks. Some viewers don’t think Tom does such a great job, and indeed, Audrey does go get her own fish sometimes.

Expect the chicks to hatch around late May. Viewers can observe their development, including fledging and learning to hunt. You will see Audrey protect the chicks from the sun’s rays on hot days by spreading her wings. Viewers will see sticks with ribbons in the nest. These were tied on by The Crazy Osprey family and left in their yard, eventually chosen for use by the osprey (follow The Crazy Osprey family’s popular blog at Boh and Barb, Peregrine Falcon: In 2015, Chesapeake Conservancy launched its peregrine falcon cam on the 33rd floor of the Transamerica building in downtown Baltimore. It welcomed to the partnership in 2017. This cam features Boh and Barb, named in honor of U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski and Baltimore’s favorite Natty Boh. They are descendants of peregrines released by The Peregrine Fund in the 1970s who first made their home on this very ledge. Peregrine’s natural habitat is the side of cliffs, and they incubate their eggs in scrapes, or indentations in sand or gravel. Many peregrine migrate, but not Boh and Barb due to the plentiful food sources that living in downtown Baltimore provides. Viewers will see Boh and Barb return from their hunts with food, beautiful landings over the Baltimore skyline, the eggs hatch, and the eyasses develop and fledge. This season with Boh and Barb brought four eggs. Barb laid her first egg on the morning of March 20, the second on March 22, the third on March 24 (or 25), and the fourth on March 27. Around April

##Tom and Audrey guard their eggs. Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Conservancy

26 June 2019

##A baby blue heron! Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Conservancy

18 one of the eggs was removed from the cluster. We suspect that Barb determined it was non-viable. In late April, Boh disappeared from the scene. We don’t have any idea where he is or why he left. Recently, a new male has been courting Barb and visiting the scrape, bringing prey. Cam viewers have been calling this male Nubo. One egg hatched on April 28, and the second egg hatched on April 29. The third egg in the cluster has not hatched yet, and there is speculation that it is non-viable. Rell and Eddie, Great Blue Heron: The newest cam, featuring Great Blue Heron, was first launched in 2016, with funds generated through a crowdfunding campaign and additional help from Waterfowl Chesapeake. joined the partnership in 2017 and installed a new sophisticated camera in 2018. The homeowner chose to name the main couple featured in the cam Rell and Eddie after the surfers Rell Sunn and Eddie Aikau. There are 10-12 nests in this rookery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and up to 50 heron. The cam features three nests prominently. Others can be seen in the distance. Viewers will be amazed at how crowded these nests get with two adults and up to three or four chicks! Viewers will see these beautiful birds mate, incubate and care for their young, 100 feet up in loblolly pines. Rell and Eddie are the stars of “Nest 1.” Rell laid five eggs in early April; Unfortunately, three of the five eggs were damaged and were removed on April 10. The two remaining eggs hatched on April 28 and May 3. Find all three webcams at