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Ospreys in Virginia


Paul Spitzer

Keynote Speaker - Paul Spitzer

Ecologist Paul Randolph Spitzer has a lifelong love affair with the East Coast of North America.  His scientific studies began with failing Ospreys in 1968, when they were severely impacted by DDT in some areas. 


He was then a protégé of bird-people Roger and Barbara Peterson, and a biology student at CT’s Wesleyan U.  DDT’s destruction of bird life, reported by Rachel Carson in “Silent Spring”, demanded more evidence and proofs.  Thus Paul devoted his 1970’s decade to detailed Osprey biology studies, for his Cornell U. doctorate.  He happily documented initial northeastern Osprey recovery, NJ to MA, as DDT passed out of ecosystems. 

His PhD thesis predicted Ospreys’ subsequent success in many parts of the world.  Paul says: “Those years of Osprey work were the making of me as a scientist and a humanist”.


In the 1980’s, between international conservation projects in India, Central America, and New Zealand, Paul gradually made the Choptank River--on Maryland’s eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay--his home for life.  Chesapeake Osprey population studies anchored him here, by the Choptank Osprey Garden.  So Paul is delighted to visit your Potomac Osprey Gardens:  To celebrate and share Osprey Spring 2024 with you all !!!  He is currently completing “Dark of the Loon”, his ecologist’s memoir about three decades of nonbreeding Common Loon study, 1988-2020, along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.  He seeks a friendly editor and strong publisher for his book.  He can tell you about his boaters’ life of Osprey and Loon study cruises.


PRS,   Windy Hill on the Choptank      March 8, 2024

Michael Academia

Michael Academia

Michael Academia, M.Sc. Biology - William & Mary, won the 2022 William Andersen Award at the International Raptor Research Conference for his research involving ospreys and the localized depletion of Atlantic menhaden in the Lower Chesapeake Bay. He is very passionate and dedicated to ospreys and citizen science. He has produced scientific articles regarding osprey diet composition, ecology, demographics, predator-prey relationships, and citizen science. 


Below are a few of his articles of osprey research: 

Food Supplementation Increases Reproductive Performance of Ospreys in the Lower Chesapeake Bay

Use of Nest Web Cameras and Citizen Science to Quantify Osprey Prey Delivery Rate and Nest Success


Carolyn Rubenfield 

Carolyn is recent transplant to Virginia from New Jersey. An avid birder, she works for the Department of Wildlife Resources on the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail and festival coordination.


She holds a Master's degree in Biology from Montclair State University where she studied American Kestrels. Worked as a Biologist on Fort Walker (formerly Fort A. P. Hill) in Caroline County conducting point counts to determine bird diversity and abundance throughout the base.


Has a love for migrating raptors born out of an internship with the Cape May Bird Observatory where she offered free interpretive programs for the public. Beyond birding, she enjoys history and creative writing.  

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Lisa Barlow

Lisa Barlow has lived in Virginia Beach, VA since a child in the early 70’s.   After working as a veterinary assistant for seven years, Lisa became a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) in 2003.  Since then, Lisa has retired from domestic animal practice but is still working full time with the wild ones!   Lisa started rehabbing in 1992 after she was pointed to a newly formed wildlife rehabilitation group. 


She started working with them and was President of that organization for thirteen years.  She then left that organization to found TREE (Tidewater Rehabilitation and Environmental Education). 

TREE became a non-profit in 2020.   While Lisa has rehabbed most types of wildlife, birds have a special place in her heart.  TREE specializes in the care of Raptors and Piscivores but loves anything with feathers! 

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