National Geographic : 1969 Jul
These showed significant percentages of DDT metabolites and traces of DDT itself. So did several fish found in the nests. If DDT and its derivatives are the villains, they have taken a terrible toll. With a rate of attrition that in some years reached 30 per cent, active nests dropped from 150 in 1954 to 10 in 1968. Unless this decline is arrested, we might expect to see our last nesting os preys in Connecticut in the 1970's. The Connecticut disaster is not an isolated case. The great colony on Gardiners Island, across Long Island Sound-once perhaps the world's largest-dropped from 300 pairs in 1945 to 35 in 1968. Ospreys have also run into trouble in the heavily polluted Great Lakes area. Michi gan's fish hawks, carefully counted by orni thologist Sergej Postupalsky, are producing young at less than a third the normal rate and are declining about 12 percent a year. At Cape May, New Jersey, a traditional osprey stronghold, their bulky nests no longer dominate the skyline. Most of the Cape May ospreys are gone. If the osprey passes from the American scene, we will lose a majestic and unique bird. Alone in a family between the hawks and the falcons, the osprey, unlike those numerous tribes, has but one genus, one species. The Well-disciplined nest lings sit quietly as father brings a fish. They fly at 6to10weeksofagebut Return to feed at the nest for several more weeks. For the remarkable close-ups on the follow ing pages, photographer Truslow (below) sat in this Everglades blind for 38 days, 10 hours a day, while temperatures in side soared to 1100 F. Two-week-olds (right) grow quarrelsome with hunger as mother watches for their provider.