Ospreys on the Magothy

Along the Magothy River on the Chesapeake Bay, the Osprey have flourished in numbers. An evening cruise on the upper river passed by nests on nearly every channel marker along the way.


Their teenagers were tucked in for the evening, some enjoying their supper. A curious one sat up and wiggled his head back and forth in query to my passing.


Mom and dad sat vigilant on the nests, glad to rest from a full day’s of fishing. Feeding teenagers is no easy task.

About thirty years ago, the Osprey population was having a difficult time to reproduce due to thin egg shells. It was discovered that DDT was the culprit, and the chemical was banned from use in the United States in the early 1970’s.

Since that time the population is now growing strong. Wintering in places from Florida to South America, these birds return to the Chesapeake Bay in early March to begin the mating and breeding season. Their children leave the nest usually around mid-July and the family starts their southern journey at the beginning of September.

When the family returns the next year, their children tend to nest close to their parents and thus an Osprey colony is created. The abundance of Osprey present on the Magothy River indicate a healthy fish population.

As for us, upon my return to the dock, Esperanza was sitting on the nest fussing at Zorro who was across the river sitting on a piling eating a fish. So they are still here, and it was wonderful to see Esperanza again. She’s usually absent, but Zorro appears now and again on the new nesting platform.

In fact, just the other day, a young whipper-snapper of an Osprey was checking out the platform to see if he might like to move in. Zorro sat firmly on the nest screaming – “It’s Mine !” Oh yeah, the kid got the idea when Zorro chased him off.


29 replies »

  1. Great photos of my favorite birds! The little ones are so curious…and they grow up so fast, eating all the time. Our three chicks have now all fledged, and the first born has already left the area. I root for Zorro and Esperanza to have a great nesting season next year.

      • The first two chicks left about 3+ weeks after fledging. The last born been doing lots of fishing practice but was still in the nest this morning. I haven’t seen her since lunch time…I could see daddy got an extra fish for her dinner, I guess, but by now (8 pm) she’s not yet back. She may have left today (:

  2. Great photos!
    I do miss these guys. Don’t see many up here, although they are supposed to be up here. ..

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