top of page
Virginia Ospreys


  • Osprey (Pandion Haliaetus)


  • Habitat:  Shorelines, marshes, rivers and open waters


  • Ospreys are found on every continent except Antarctica


  • The Chesapeake Bay supports the largest breeding population of ospreys in the world


  • Fish make up 99% of their diet


  • They are a conservation success story.  They were decimated between the 1950s and 1970s due to DDT.  DDT poisoning resulted in thinning egg shells which reduced the number of eggs hatching and caused a dwindling population.   Once this was discovered, DDT was banned and the population quickly recovered.


  • Ospreys are a large bird of prey with a chocolate brown back and a white or mottled underside. It has a pronounced crook in its long wings.  Its head is generally white with a dark eye stripe and yellow eyes.


  • The adult female is usually larger than the male and often has a brown “necklace” on her chest


  • Colonial Beach ospreys arrive from their wintering grounds in late February to early March


  • Ospreys mate for life


  • The female lays her eggs within 30 days of arrival


  • Eggs are incubated anywhere from 35 to 43 days


  • Chicks fledge between 50 and 55 days old


  • Ospreys generally begin their migration to their wintering grounds between late August and mid-September.  Mid Atlantic ospreys migrate as far as South America


  • Ospreys migrate alone, even juveniles.


  • The juveniles remain in their wintering grounds from 18 to 20 months 

bottom of page