The Ospreys Are Back

The Ospreys Are Back

A sure sign of warming weather is the return of the ospreys, chestnut brown and white birds that return to Northern Virginia in March from their southern wintering grounds in Florida, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Locals have seen them carrying sticks to build up last year’s nests. Expert at catching live fish, a staple of their diet, these birds, also known as “fish hawks,” nest and raise their young near water. 
An osprey pair is building up last year's nest at the Walt Whitman Middle School ballfield, as games ensue below. 


For several years, a pair has nested atop a light pole at Walt Whitman Middle School’s softball field. The students have named the birds “Walt” and “Whitney,” reports Lindsey Miller, administrative assistant to Dr. Craig Herring, the principal. 

A pair that for many years has nested on a platform at the Belle Haven Marina on the Potomac River returned last week and have substantial work to do to reconstruct their nest, it appears. Traditionally, ospreys built their nests in trees, but many today choose manmade structures like light poles, platforms, channel markers, barges and waterfowl blinds. 

Ospreys vs. Bald Eagles

Some mistake ospreys for bald eagles. Adult bald eagles have a white head and tail. Ospreys have a white head, but they also have a brown stripe through the eye. Bald eagles have a wingspan of over 85 inches; ospreys, around 70 inches. Bald eagles are now raising their young.