Springtime Osprey Action

April 18, 2022

Male osprey (Pandion haliaetus) bringing a fish to his mate at their nest on a early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

Springtime
Osprey Action

Fort Monroe
National Monument

Springtime osprey action has been plentiful at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. This one particular osprey nest has been very active. I have watched and photographed this osprey pair as they have rebuilt their nest on this skinny light pole.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest on a light pole near a building on the old air strip on a spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest on a light pole near a building on the old air strip on a spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

Osprey Pair Return to Nest 

In early April this year, I observed and photographed a returning pair of osprey building a nest of this very skinny light pole near the old airway strip on Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. I began photographing in the early morning as the pair of ospreys were bringing nesting material back to the nest to build the nest back up. It really amazes me that this pair of osprey nest on such a small space on top of this light pole.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) bringing nesting material to build nest on light pole on a spring morning near the old air strip at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) bringing nesting material to rebuild nest on light pole on a spring morning near the old air strip at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. Osprey uses twigs to build their nest and lined with sod, grasses, vines or just about anything they can find. The male osprey does most of the work of fetching the nesting material while the female osprey will arrange the nesting material.

Ospreys Fighting Over Nest on Light Pole 

The pair of osprey were away from the nest gathering nesting material, when I spotted another pair of osprey flying in the area. Suddenly, there were four different ospreys flying around this nest on the light pole. Then right before my eyes one osprey tried to land on the start of a nest on top of the light pole. Out of no where comes the other osprey, and a fight started in air over the top of this nest.

Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) fight over a nest site on a light pole during an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Two Ospreys fight over a nest site on a light pole during an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. Osprey pairs will return to the same nest year after year and are willing to fight any other Ospreys that may try to take their nest site away.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) chases away another osprey from his nest site on a light pole during an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey chases away another osprey from his nest site on a light pole. Ospreys will vigorously chase birds including other ospreys that encroach on their nests.

Nesting Ospreys defend only the immediate area around their nest rather than a larger territory. They will chase away other Ospreys that encroach on their nesting areas. A week later, I return to check on this same nesting osprey pair and found that they were still fighting off another osprey pair.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) encroaching upon another osprey nest as the female osprey is able to chase the osprey away from her nest while her mate is away from the nest site on a spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey trying to land and take over another osprey nest as the female osprey in nest uses her outcries to chase the intruding osprey away from her nest while her mate is away from the nest site on a spring morning.

Osprey Feeding Time

Ospreys are a fish eating bird of prey and are also know as a fish hawk, sea hawk or river hawk. Ospreys will catch most fish at or near the surface of water. Since osprey primarily eat fish, their nests are usually located within a couple of miles of a body of water. The male will primarily do most of the fishing while the female osprey will stay at the nest waiting for the male to bring her some fish.

Osprey will catch and eat both marine and fresh-water fish. The osprey will hunt for their fish by hovering over the surface of the water. When the osprey spots a fish near the surface the osprey will plunge feet first to snatch the fish out of the water. Often the male osprey will then take the fish to a place nearby his nest where he will eat a portion on the fish before bringing the rest of the fish to the female waiting at their nest.

Pair of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting on a light pole as the male osprey has brought a fish to the nesting site on an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Male osprey caught and brought fish back to nesting site on a light pole as he stands with talon on fish. The female osprey is patiently awaiting her turn to eat the fish.

Check out a recent blog post about the the many different osprey pairs nesting at Fort Monroe National Monument. To learn more about the diversity of wildlife and the ecosystems at Fort Monroe, please read my article called Biodiversity of Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

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!

All the very best,

Lori

Copyright © 2022 Lori A Cash

2 replies to “Springtime Osprey Action

  1. Absolutely AWESOME post! Love the story and information! So interesting to see the nest competition, too!

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