Ospreys, severely affected by DDT in the 1960s, now serve as indicators for the success of pollution remediation on a Superfund cleanup site.
Scientists from the Montana Osprey Project invite the public to share their enthusiasm for these amazing raptors, bringing young people to visit the nests and maintaining two webcams while carrying on the work of collecting and analyzing samples of blood and feathers from osprey chicks along the Clark Fork River. Patent introduces the birds and the project, explaining environmental issues resulting from mining in the Clark Fork area, various dangers for ospreys, and the research. A chapter of osprey observations done through Web cameras, watching two pairs raise their chicks, is followed by an explanation of the problem of mercury and then a description of the attachment of transmitters to these birds to research migration patterns. There’s a great deal of information crammed into this title; many sidebars and special sections interrupt the exposition. Readers without a solid science background may have difficulty following the steps of data analysis. Libraries still holding Patent and Muñoz’s Ospreys (1993) will find that simpler title a helpful overview of the species, but this one demonstrates how studying these birds may help address some knottier scientific problems.
More science than adventure, this is a challenging addition to the Science in the Field series. (Nonfiction. 12-16)