CCB Completes Gulf Spill Work with Eagles and Osprey

CCB Completes Gulf Spill Work with Eagles and Osprey

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010 and ultimately became the largest in U.S. history.  The spill was in a location that could potentially impact millions of birds including a large portion of all North American species.  In the months following the onset of the spill and at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dr. Watts led a national team of raptor biologists to develop a plan to investigate potential impacts to raptors.  The ultimate plan included population assessments of bald eagles and osprey.  Over the past year, a CCB team including Bryan Watts, Libby Mojica, Bart Paxton, and Fletcher Smith surveyed and monitored several hundred eagle nests from Florida through Louisiana and more than 150 osprey nests primarily in Florida and Mississippi.  Final reports on these investigations were submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December.  Findings are confidential pending potential legal cases against British Petroleum.

Eagle flight crew in Louisiana including (l-r) Bart Paxton, Charlie Hammond, and Bryan Watts.

Eagle nest tree in Louisiana Cypress Swamp. Photo by Bryan Watts

Adult eagle with chicks. Photo by Bart Paxton