Woods Hole Cam Policy on Intervention
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Woods Hole Sea Grant operate the Woods Hole Osprey Cam strictly as an informational and educational tool, giving visitors from around the world an intimate glimpse into the fascinating world of an osprey family and the things we on Cape Cod are lucky enough to see daily. No research on the nest, or osprey in general, is conducted at WHOI.
That intimacy brings vast rewards, but also some risk. The lives of osprey are not easy; it’s estimated that about 50-60 percent of all osprey chicks do not survive their first year of life. Some of that danger comes in the nest, and the Woods Hole Osprey Cam was witness during the 2014 season to some very disturbing behavior that was difficult for many people to watch.
Based on consultation with some of the world’s premier osprey researchers it was, and remains, our policy to not intervene in the nest, especially in cases such as the behavior by the female in the 2014 season. Entering the nest, or removing animals deemed at risk by viewers, could potentially cause greater distress or threat to the health and well-being of the animals than allowing them to proceed without human intervention.
We understand that many people disagree with this approach and we respect that viewpoint. Our hope is that they will attempt to do the same for us.
On rare occasions, a bird may become entangled in items that they’ve brought into the nest, such as rope, balloon string, plastic bags, etc. Please know that in our area they usually free themselves with no harmful result but that it might take some time, and some behavior that may appear frantic and distressing could take place as they do so, so please be patient. Calls for immediate response are understandable, but please know it could cause the animal to fly off with the item, or struggle more, potentially putting it at greater risk of harm.
In the extremely rare case of the animal being completely immobilized by human-introduced material, we will evaluate and consult with experts and proceed as they deem best.
If you find watching the cams too disturbing, we apologize and suggest that you stop watching. It is at our discretion to turn off the camera at any time with little or no warning if we determine the situation warrants it but please be aware that the camera is not monitored 24/7 by WHOI staff.
Last updated: March 13, 2015