Every Day is a Birdiful Day at the Cove

Fall has returned, bringing many migratory animals back to Crystal Cove.  Recent visitors may have noticed the elegant monarchs and the ever cheerful white crowned sparrows, welcoming guests to the park.  Each fall these temporary residents breathe new life into the park, augmenting the already splendid array of biological diversity.  Among the new additions, perhaps none is more welcomed home than Pearl, our wintering Osprey.

Ospreys, sometimes called sea eagles or a sea hawks, are shoreline raptors that exclusively eat fish, making them unique among birds of prey.  Benjamin Franklin described them as “diligent”, admiring their methods of hunting and providing for their nests.  Ospreys, like other birds of prey, were greatly reduced by the DDT epidemic in the 1950’s and 1960’s, which caused infertile eggs.  Since DDT’s ban, Ospreys have largely recovered and now are now seen along both coasts of North America.

In the last month, Pearl, our resident Osprey, has returned from her northern adventures and is sighted almost every day in the historic district.  She is often seen pensively gazing into the horizon, searching for food, or perhaps simply basking in the beauty of Crystal Cove.  Her daytime hunting allows park visitors to experience a glimpse of the wild, an opportunity rarely afforded on the Orange County coast.  The more fortunate visitor may see her feasting on a freshly caught fish, and the exceptionally fortunate visitor may observe her grabbing her unwitting prey.  Pearl’s return demonstrates one of Crystal Cove’s most important roles, providing a home for migratory species on the widely developed Southern California coastline.

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