This morning at 6am (my time) I was witness to a small miracle. I wasn’t planning to be there but I couldn’t get back to sleep and decided I might as well get up. And so I saw the Hog Island osprey female, Rachel, laying her third egg of the season. This time, she was facing away from the camera and the entire process could be intimately followed.
The sight of this fierce raptor patiently heaving, giving birth to new life, filled me with such a sense of awe and hope. A small miracle that I am allowed to watch. But there’s more. Each spring, she and her mate, Steve, make the 2.500 mile journey from their winter hunting grounds in South America to this nest on an island off the coast of Maine. They have not seen each other since they left the nest the previous fall. They fight off intruding males and females to reclaim their nest and begin rebuilding it with sticks, digging out a nest bowl, lining it with seaweed and moss.
This is the fourth year that we have been able to celebrate this miracle, thanks to The Audubon Society and Explore.org Each year, they lay three eggs and each year two or three chicks are raised to fledge and make their own way to South America in the fall.
Another miracle is the community of people from all over the world who gather at this webcam to learn from and about the ospreys.
But there is more. The introduction of DDT and other pesticides almost led to the extinction of these magnificent birds. The appearance, in 1962, of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, marks the beginning of growing awareness of what modern man is doing to the environment. In the US and Europe, ospreys are now making a comeback. This in itself is a small miracle.
Will we be able to make the larger miracle happen? Will humankind be able to stop its ravaging of the planet and all forms of life, including itself? The facts – and Audubon has stated them clearly – are grim. It will take more than a small miracle to turn the tide. It will take the determination and heartfelt commitment of each and every one of us.
That’s a tall order. I continue to hope.
p.s. Due to a strange bug in WordPress, I’m unable to add URLs. I’m sorry.