As a predator at the top of the food chain, the health of ospreys can let researchers in on the health of an ecosystem. The University of Montana is currently studying how mercury and other pollutants are building up in the birds, which feed on a diet of fish caught from nearby bodies of water. The birds' health highlights just what's in the water, so to speak. To help with their research, the team has put up live webcams, and we get to watch the birds raise their young.
Discovery News writes, "One pair of osprey were local stars even before scientists' webcams made them a national hit. Osprey usually mate for life, and this pair of romantic raptors have been building a nest atop a telephone pole at the Dunrovin Guest Ranch in Lolo, Montana for the past ten years. But this is the first year they've raised their brood live on the web. The female laid her clutch on April 23."
Here is the Dunrovin feed:
And the Hellgate feed:
You can watch the nests live and hopefully catch the eggs hatch, which is due to happen any day.