I recently got a letter from the Michigan Nature Association that announced they have nesting ospreys at the Helmer Brook Plant Preserve. Osprey Watch reports there are 17 active nests in lower Michigan this year.
The DNR has been releasing ospreys in the lower peninsula since 1998:
Ospreys are listed as a threatened species in the state. Along with bald eagles and peregrine falcons, they were hard hit by the liberal use of pesticides shortly after World War II. Unlike peregrines, Michigan never lost its entire osprey population; the species managed to persist in small numbers in the state. Since the ban of DDT and other similar persistent pesticides, they have rebounded in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
Ospreys got a double whammy; in addition to the effects of organochlorines, they are also migratory, and lost habitat along their entire trip–North America, Central America, and South America.
I’ve mentioned before the important role of an MSU biologist in the collection of evidence of DDT Bioaccumulation. (You can actually read an original article by Wallace in Audubon Magazine from 1963 here.) Michigan is still home to the Pine River Superfund site–a toxic waste dump of DDT manufacturing leftovers, as well as other industrial waste.
So, I’m pretty geeked that there are some signs of recovery, however small. You can help by reporting sightings in lower Michigan with this form.
[Thank you to C. A. Mullhaupt, who took this lovely photo of a nest in Michigan in 2008.]
Oh, and since every time I mention DDT a whole host of right-wing people show up to flog their political agenda: save us all some time, and read these posts first, ‘kay?
- DDT: the cliffs notes version
- Malaria, mortality, and blame: Why the claim that DDT could/would save millions is bogus
- DDT and Insecticide resistance: why DDT isn’t a cure-all
- Ed has undertaken the daunting project of examining all the claims point by point made at JunkScience.
- Here’s the second of Ed’s posts in the series, and the third.
- Everything DDT at the Bug Blog