Thursday, June 23, 2011


I can remember, as a child, when our family drove down one of the local barrier islands, the tops of the phone poles were lined with Osprey nests. I was impressed by the shear size of these nests. They seem to be 3 or 4 feet across. They were enormous compared to the much smaller size robin’s nests we would find back at home. But with each passing summer the nest numbers grew fewer and fewer, than one summer there were none. The Osprey and their homes were gone.

Years later, during one of my science classes, I hear of Rachel Carson. In 1962, she had written a book about the effect of the pesticide DDT. DDT was very effective and very inexpensive to produce, thus it became the pesticide of choice and was widely used throughout the country. I, also, have memories of running in the fog which spew from the back of the weekly spray trucks.

Carson‘s book, “Silent Spring” brought light to the fact DDT was not only killing insects, it was a contact toxin to animals, and could possibly accumulate in the food chain. Carson claimed it was a carcinogen, possibly poisoning food. It’s effects were building up in birds and causing egg shells to be so thin, they were crushed by the parents nesting them. Eagles, Hawks, Osprey and many other birds were disappearing in large numbers. Thanks to her persistence and her well documented facts which were published in her “Silent Spring”, ten years later, 1972, the government ban the use of this insecticide.

During the last several years, I am elated to see many Osprey nests reappearing. Admittedly, not to the numbers of my childhood but there are many. And recently I have even seen several Bald Eagles.

Each spring/summer morning which I am awaken by the squeaking of fledglings, I thank Rachel and I am happy for the lack of silence.

Osprey ~ mama, papa and hatchling 6/21/11 Cattus Island


Jaime said... neat! And wow about ddt.

Anonymous said...

Wow-- I never knew there was such a history behind them!

Michelle said...

Cool shot! Btw: I finally decided on a camera. I went with the Canon 60D, but I plan to get that macro lens you mentioned...later. Thanks again for your help, Trish.

Chelsea said...

How interesting! I'm glad for people like Rachel and blowing the whistle on things that affect us all!

Gretchen said...

I'm so glad their numbers are rising again!! Not so glad the gnat numbers are also rising... hehe. Great shot... great reminder.

Unknown said...

Great post! And a great reminder that humans have a great impact on the world around them. Good and bad.