Osprey Nesting at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia

This spring I have been out to Fort Monroe National Monument on a regular basis photographing the nesting ospreys. There are at least 8 pairs of ospreys that have built nests at Fort Monroe on either nesting platforms along Mill Creek or on top of light poles around the grounds of Fort Monroe. There could be even more osprey nests that I have not yet seen, as every time I go there, I find another osprey nest.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) calling its mate from their nest along Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey are usually monogamous, and an osprey pair will mate for life.

The ospreys are everywhere at Fort Monroe. I have spent a great deal of time observing and photographing the ospreys at three particular osprey nests located along Mill Creek with two being on osprey nesting platforms and the third being on a light pole at an old basketball court at Fort Monroe. The males have been really busy bringing twigs in to their nest to beef up their nest for this season as well as with fishing and feeding the female osprey.

When they are not bringing nesting material or food to the nest, I have observed the males staying off the nest, just being nearby, like in a tree or top of a pole, hanging out and watching over the nest. Sometimes I will hear and watch the male and female ospreys communicating while she is in the nest and he is in a nearby location.

Male osprey (Pandion haliaetus) sitting in tree watching over the osprey nest nearby at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Male osprey often will take a break from the nest during the mating or copulating period and will sit in a tree or some other structure where the male osprey can watch over his mate in the nest nearby.

On the two of the osprey nests that I am closely watching and photographing, I have discovered that there are other small birds nesting under the osprey nests. One of the small birds nesting is some type of sparrow that has built its nest just under the bottom of the top platform where the osprey’s nest is located. The other small bird nest is at the bottom of the osprey nest which is located on a light pole. I unfortunately did not get a good look to see as to what type of songbird it is that is nesting underneath the osprey’s nest on the light pole.

Here is a look of the osprey platform with the osprey pair on the nest and the small sparrow type bird on the foliage under the platform to the left of the image. The sparrow nest is on the back side of this osprey platform just underneath the osprey nest.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) pair sitting in nest while a sparrow sits underneath on the green foliage as the sparrow has a nest underneath the nesting platform top at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey pair sitting in nest on a nesting platform while a sparrow sits underneath on the green foliage. Osprey will often use nesting platforms that were built to help the osprey population to have safer nesting. The osprey like to be high up in their nest so that they can have a higher vantage point nearby the water.

I have been going to Fort Monroe on a weekly basis checking on the ospreys and plan to watch, observe and photograph these three ospreys nests all season, hoping to learn even more about osprey nesting and breeding behavior this year. I will continue to share posts about these 3 osprey nests as the year progresses from nest building, copulating, egg sitting, chicks being born and young ospreys leaving the nest.

I hope you will follow along on this photographic journey, learning osprey behaviors with me.

A male osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in flight with half eaten fish at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Male osprey will do the hunting for food in the nearby body of water and will then bring this food back to the female at the nest sometimes after eating their share of the fish.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!



Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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