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Colonial Beach Osprey Arrive!

Thank you to Nancy Busick, Yvonne Peery, Mary Wenz, Bronwen Decker and Pam Risdon for contributions to this post!


We're still at the beginning of the time of year when ospreys return from South America to the East Coast. For now, some nests remain empty as the nest on top of the power pole in the picture by Nancy Busick at left. But it won't be long before ospreys will be filling up their summer homes with bits of this and that. For many, there will be new family members. But first, the birds must find their nests and then their mates. Birds will even use nests as viewing platforms where they can wait on their prospective mates as in the three photos below shared by Yvonne Peery:

Some watchers like Mary Wenz await their favorite birds who will inhabit the same nests year after year. Mary has named her annual visitors Tony and Maria after the young lovers from "West Side Story". Tony has been sighted recently this year on the nest awaiting his Maria. The images Mary captured below are also from this year.

For Bronwen Decker and her daughter, watching the birds is a family affair and a learning opportunity. Everyone celebrates when ospreys find each other. The pair pictured below live on Irving. Bronwen and her daughter named the birds Tilly and Talon. Watchers can tell the difference between Tilly and Talon because Tilly is wearing a brown feather necklace.

Not all nests are currently habitable. Some, like this platform at the entrance to the Public Works facility on 205, are in need of stabilizing. Thanks to Bronwen Decker for this photograph at left. Repair to some platforms may have to wait until after nesting season. While ospreys will build nests in duck blinds, on utility poles and even in boats, it is preferable to give the birds a less intrusive nesting place. The birds have been making a successful comeback since the banning of DDT and other pesticides in the 1970's. But with widespread shoreline development and tree removal, ospreys rely on nesting platforms to avoid landing on the endangered species list again.

Here's what photographer Pam Risdon had to say about the 2021 arrival of ospreys, "Yesterday, (3/15/21) I saw my first two osprey of the season down near the point. I was taking a walk down there around 4:00 and saw one circle overhead first. When I got up near the nest by the Wakefield Motel, one had landed and was looking it over. It didn’t seem satisfied and flew off. Coming back down Lossing I saw one land in a big oak and then saw a second one sitting on the Wakefield’s pier. It didn't seem like they were a mated pair, but before I left for home I saw them both starting to circle above in a thermal. They rose up to several hundred feet (without once flapping their wings), then the higher one swooped down past the lower one for a second and they squawked at each other. Then one headed south in a beeline and the other went north until they were both gone. Maybe they were just starting to house shop. It was nice to see them starting to come back to town, though."


Thanks so much to all of our contributors. If you have images or video, or even observations about the ospreys, please share them for this year's festival by emailing ospreycbva@gmail.com. Let your friends and family know that Colonial Beach has places to stay that are safe harbors as we glide into spring. And outdoor activities are plentiful. Come to Colonial Beach for so many reasons, but, especially, come for the beautiful birds!