Video stream captures ‘bird’s eye view’ of nesting ospreys at UF stadium
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — They’re back — a pair of ospreys has once again made a home 100 feet above the University of Florida baseball stadium, where a live camera feed will document their every coming and going, and, if conditions are right, the arrival of chicks come spring.
A pair also occupied the nest last year, and even laid eggs, but a strong storm knocked the eggs out of the nest, a huge structure of branches and pine cones built on top of one of the light poles at the Alfred A. McKethan Stadium, said Mark Hostetler, professor of wildlife ecology and conservation in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Hostetler hopes this pair’s eggs will have better luck. Two eggs have been laid since the beginning of March.
“Ospreys typically lay one to three eggs at a time, and it takes about 36 days for the chicks to hatch. I’m looking forward to seeing the parents raise the chicks in the nest, which takes about seven to eight weeks. We may even have a ‘name the chicks’ contest, if all goes well,” said Hostetler, who installed the camera last year in in coordination with the University Athletics Association, UF Planning, Design and Construction, UF Information Technology Network Services and EarthCam.
This nesting season, the Osprey Cam will give UF baseball fans a unique chance to learn about the large birds of prey flying above them, Hostetler said.
“Announcements will alert stadium-goers when the ospreys are active on or near the nest. People will be able to pull out their smart phones, tune into the feed and maybe catch the birds feeding fish to their chicks,” Hostetler said, adding that he and his students plan to have a booth at the games where people can learn more about ospreys and local wildlife.
The goal of the Osprey Cam is to raise awareness about how wildlife, natural resources and people are all connected. For example, the ospreys depend on fish from nearby water bodies, and water quality is tied to decisions made by local residents, Hostetler said.
Anyone with an internet connection can view the live stream at http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/ospreycam/ or follow the ospreys’ progress on social media with the hashtag #UFOspreyCam.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.