Delaware estuary’s ospreys recover as fish contaminants decline, report says

Osprey chick

JON HURDLE and CATALINA JARAMILLO / STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – Ospreys are becoming a more familiar sight in the Delaware Estuary, thanks to a decline in the presence of polluting chemicals such as pesticides and flame retardants, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Service.

The recovery of the brown and white birds that hunt fish over the area’s shorelines, rivers and inland bays is a good sign for the ecological health of the whole Delaware region because the fish they prey on have been found with lower levels of contaminants such as the industrial chemicals PCBs and the pesticide dieldrin, the report said.

“Findings suggest that there have been improvements in Delaware Estuary water bird habitat compared to the second half of the 20th century,” said the report, based on research in 2015. “This trend is associated in part with mitigation of some anthropogenic contaminant threats.” …

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