Osprey Migration Tracking


We’ve all been watching the return of our Ospreys and during the past decade have experienced the thrill of seeing them expand their nesting range into Michigan’s southern Lower Peninsula. Their recovery since the era of DDT is very gratifying. What makes it more exciting is that this expansion was facilitated by the 1998 – 2007 hacking project. The goal of the Reintroduction Program was 30 nesting pairs by 2020. It’s a job well done as we achieved that number and more in 2010.

As we continue to monitor the health of the Osprey population throughout the state we are aware that data covering areas of special interest are missing. In Michigan we lack knowledge as to the routes our birds take during migration, their arrival and departure dates, and more. In order to gather this information we need to employ the aid of satellite and gsm telemetry. Information obtained from this technology can also be used to aid in the conservation of the Osprey. Previous studies indicate threats to their survival at aquaculture facilities in Colombia and at stop over sites within the Dominican Republic, and likely at other places. Do Michigan Ospreys visit these dangerous areas? Answers to this question and many more can be obtained from these high-tech devices and cannot be gleaned from banding alone.

The goals of this study using satellite telemetry are as follows:
• Track migratory paths of Michigan Ospreys,
• Determine arrival/departure dates,
• Track foraging habits,
• Identify stopover sites and feeding grounds during migration,
• Track movements on the wintering grounds,
• Locate dangerous areas to their survival,
• Fill in the gap for regional migratory data.
• Educational outreach to schools and the public
• Conservation of habitat

The positions of our satellite-tagged Osprey are provided by Movebank and we have plotted each of them below in Google Maps.

Each Osprey has a name that corresponds to the tracking ID, the location where they were tagged, and then a name that has been given to them.
Four Ospreys are being outfitted with a transmitter in the summer of 2017.

The map below will show each birds location with a corresponding color.


Use the calendar at the top of the map to help navigate through the path of the Osprey. Click on a date and a dot representing each bird appears on the map for that date. Click on that dot, and more detailed information will appear. Drag the dot along the lines to see their path.


Here are some handy tips on how to navigate and interact with the map in order to follow and enjoy the adventures of each Michigan Osprey.

1) Check the calendar at the top of the map, and click on a date. A dot representing each bird appears on the map for that date. Click on that dot, and a bubble pops up with time and location details.

2) Drag the dot back and forth along the migration path until you reach a spot where you want to stop. Click on the dot and time/location details again appear.

3) You can also drag the “hand” along the path, and when a pointer finger appears, click on that spot to learn when the youngster was tracked in that location.

4) Zooming in on the map provides a visual of the area the bird is visiting. To enhance the info, click on “Satellite” in the upper right corner of the map and then hit “Labels”. City/street names, etc.magically appear on the map! A complete zoom in provides the details of the location…the river, trees, etc. that the bird visited. It’s almost like having a drone spying on our birds! What fun!!