Seahawks return to Bristol shores

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Efforts to support and increase the osprey population in the area appear to be working as the seahawks have returned and taken up residence along Bristol's shores.

Nesting pairs of the raptors have returned from their winter vacation in South America to their man-made platforms in Colt State Park and on Poppasquash Road. The Audubon Society, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, has built the platforms all along the East Bay, where the birds return to fish Rhode Island waters each spring and summer.

Local osprey watcher Michael Gerhardt, along with photographer Butch Lombardi of the Warren Conservation Commission and a group of volunteers, built a new osprey platform in the woods of the Audubon Society recently. While there's no guarantee a nesting pair will inhabit the new platform, chances are good given the number of the birds watchers have spotted already this spring.

The Bristol platforms are among 209 osprey sites the Audubon Society monitors. Last year, the society counted 168 successful osprey births, down slightly from 2012, but at 1.2 births per active nest, the numbers are still above the ideal average to indicate population growth. Visit the Audubon Society’s osprey monitoring site to follow the bird population’s progress.

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