Lesson Plan

Osprey Migration

Osprey in flight

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
State Standards:
See Lesson Plan for standard specifics
Intermediate Science Core Curriculum and High School Core Curriculum
Standard 1 - Math: Key 1,2,3; Science: Key 1,2
Standard 2 - Key 1, 2
Standard 4 - Science: Key 1,2,5,6
Standard 6 - Key 1,5
Standard 7 - Key 1,2
Additional Standards:
Next Generation Science Standards
Not limited to, but including:
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.


Student will be able to…
•Plot and analyze Osprey migration data
•Make observations about osprey migration from the East Coast to Central and South America
•Create a fact sheet about osprey
•Write a short vignette about one day in the life of a male osprey


Come along and visit Coley II as he travels along the Atlantic Flyway to his winter home in South America. Experience the excitement of plotting his journey and observing his activities! This fun classroom activity will heighten your student’s science skills, through mapping, math and science lessons. Find out how ospreys migrate and visit the countries along with Coley as he navigates through the Western Hemisphere.


Satellite tracking


Use this template to create an excel spreadsheet, or enter data on this form.

Download Osprey Data pdf

Lesson Hook/Preview

  • Show students images of ospreys in flight. For each image students should record at least 2 observations
  • Mini-lesson-
    • Discuss osprey adaptations for flight and hunting
    • Discuss the reasons that birds, including osprey, migrate. Include and highlight the Living Environment Standard 4 – Key Idea 5- Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life
    • Distribute the maps and osprey migration data. Discuss the geography of the migration route for the osprey, Coley II, including continents, countries, cities etc. and review longitude and latitude


Main Activity- Manual plotting of osprey migration data

  • Plot the location of Coley II as he migrates south given the latitude and longitude of his position
    • Tools needed: metric ruler and calculator; migration map; migration data table; student sheet with directions
  • Measure the distance flown each day as depicted on data sheet and on site
  • Calculate the total distance flown over the period Coley II migrated and the average flown each day
  • Analyze the migration pathway

Activity 2- Mapping Coley II using Google Earth at http://www.jamaicabayosprey.org/

  • Using Google Earth Click on the disc to determine where Coley II was on a specific day and match it to the Data Chart
  • List and determine how many different states Coley II flew through.
  • Which of the locations were on land? On a body of water? What types of water did he pass over? Describe how the fish would differ at each location? Why?
  • Describe how Coley II flew in relation to the coastline. Why do you think he flew this route?


  • What surprised you the most about the osprey migration?
  • What did you find most interesting about the osprey migration?
  • Where will you go from here? Are you interested in continuing to monitor Coley II?

Enrichment Activities


  • What questions do you now have about osprey migration that weren’t answered in this lesson? Use the osprey information sources to answer your questions and learn more about ospreys.
  • Select two different types of bodies of water that Coley II visited. Research the details of the aquatic ecosystems including the different types of fish Coley II might catch in these locations.
  • Track Coley II’s return trip.
  • Set up a field trip to Jamaica with the class to observe Coley II’s home.
  • Using literature from the various stops on Coley II’s journey bring reading, social studies and language arts creating a multi-cultural lesson.
  • Also, create a multi-cultural day by crafting art projects and a lunch of various foods from the places Coley II stops.


Related Lessons or Education Materials

Other Gateway National Recreation Area Lesson Plans

Investigating Bird Migration and Climate Change https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/bird-migration.htm

Osprey Migration https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/osprey-migration.htm

Marine Invaders https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/marine-invaders.htm

Marine Ecology – Water Testing https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/ecology-water-testing.htm

Asian Shore Crabs https://www.nps.gov/gate/learn/education/asian-shore-crabs.htm

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Last updated: July 24, 2015