For those of us that live close to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, there are few birds more recognizable than the osprey. Also known as fish hawks or sea hawks—and recognized scientifically as Pandion haliaetus—these large birds of prey are well-adapted to their piscivorous (fish-eating) lifestyle.

Ospreys were one of the first birds I learned to recognize during my childhood summers on Hawk Cove. Since those days, osprey populations have seen a major increase along the Chesapeake. The birds readily nest on a variety of man-made structures—ranging from platforms constructed just for them (like the one visible from the boat dock here at Marshy Point) to locations of opportunity such as channel markers, pilings, and telephone poles.

Ospreys nest along the Chesapeake Bay and spend the Summer here. They remain through early Fall and are one of our most exciting birds to watch as they make spectacular feet-first dives for fish.

As temperatures cool, osprey make a long migration to Florida, the Caribbean, and South America for the Winter. Their return in March is a noisy and noticeable sign of Spring as they set up territories, repair nests, and plunge-dive for fish while whistling their shrill calls.

Visit Marshy Point to see an osprey nest up close on our nest platform!