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Osprey Satellite Transmitter Tracking Project Underway

Osprey in nest
Osprey in their nest in the Arapaho National Recreation Area near Rocky Mountain National Park.
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News Release Date: February 12, 2014
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363

Rocky Mountain National Park is pleased to announce the beginning of a three year joint project between the park, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO), and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests that allows school children and the public to follow the migration path of osprey from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. 

To effectively conserve neotropical bird populations, it is important to coordinate conservation efforts between breeding habitats in North America with tropical regions in Mexico, Central and South America. Understanding the full life cycle of migratory birds helps identify conservation needs. Recent advances in technology make demonstrating migratory connectivity between countries and continents possible. The National Park Service and the RMBO are working together to better understand the migration route of local ospreys. This summer two female ospreys (named Shadow and Rainbow) that nest in the Arapaho National Recreation Area near Rocky Mountain National Park were outfitted with satellite tracking units.  

The solar-powered units that the birds wear like a "backpack" utilize satellites to provide biologists with the locations of the birds three times a day for the next two to three years. This information will help biologists learn about the birds' migration routes, stopover sites and winter ranges to further our coordination with other landowners in the conservation of this species.  

Educators from RMBO, the forest service and the park service are working with local schools to incorporate the osprey's migration into classroom programs. Students will learn about the technology used to track birds and create maps and how information on migration is important for bird conservation. 

RMBO is utilizing the internet and readily accessible programs to allow anyone to track the birds' migration. Shadow and Rainbow have traveled over 1,300 miles from the shore of Lake Granby in north-central Colorado to the East Coast of Mexico. To learn more about RMBO's program and track Shadow and Rainbow visit www.rmbo.org

The National Park Service Rocky Mountain Network Inventory and Monitoring Program, and Mountain Parks Electric are also partners in this project.

Did You Know?

a photo of a comfort station

Daily during the summer, Rocky's custodial crew cleans 102 toilets in comfort stations at trailheads and along roads. They also clean around 100 toilets in campground comfort stations, 30 visitor center toilets, and 35 toilets for park staff. That's 267 toilets cleaned every day of the summer!