• Virginia Osprey Festival

Osprey Flyer June 2022 Updates


Photo courtesy of Cable Risdon

Welcome to our first ever osprey newsletter! We are solely committed to keeping all of you updated monthly, not only on the festival but also on the ospreys that reside with us here in Colonial Beach. We will strive to make it informative and interesting; our hope is to allow you to feel connected not only to the festival but to our ospreys as well.


Our Osprey Garden

June has been a busy month for our ospreys. Many of the nests have at least one chick and some nests as many as three! The male osprey of each nest has been busy supplying fish to the chicks and the female. The female rarely leaves her chicks at this time as they are tiny and vulnerable. When the male catches a fish, he shows it to the nest and then flies off with it to eat some of it first, usually in eyesight of the nest. This causes quite a stir! The female will begin to beg and sound quite desperate! Eventually the male returns with the partially eaten fish so that the female can feed her chicks and then eat what is left. The female will lose 10 to 15 percent of her body weight by the end of the season (Poole, Ospreys The Revival of a Global Raptor).


Here is a quick update on the current status of the nests around town. During the nest building and mating phase, 54 active nests were observed. Of these, 48 were later observed with a sitting female on the nest. After this it becomes a little more difficult, particularly with the tree nests as the tree comes into leaf. In some cases, the nest is barely visible. Approximately 17 nests have either failed or at least show no current activity. 21 nests definitely have one, two or three chicks. To date we have actually visualized 39 chicks. Eight other nests appear to be active as the parents exhibit behaviors consistent with chicks in the nest, however, we have not yet been able to visualize the chicks. Eight others are tree nests and it is impossible to visualize the nest. We may be able to determine what is happening as the chicks get older and begin to fledge. Stay tuned.


Nest #8 on the Colonial Beach nest map houses the matriarch of our ospreys. She is a 21-year-old banded female, she was banded in Calvert County, Maryland by Greg Kearns, Park Naturalist II as a chick. This is the second year that has been documented that she had an unsuccessful nest. We applaud her longevity and her journey back to Colonial Beach. We wish her the best and hope to see her next year.


Colonial Beach launched its first Bird Banding event, hosted by Colonial Beach Greenspace. You can read all about this in Pam Narney’s Blog. It was an amazing experience and something that will be planned each year. Four chicks were banded in two nests. Thank you, Ken Smith, Federally Licensed Bird Bander from Maryland and Todd Dalton, Local Supervisor, Operations for Dominion Energy, for your assistance. We must not forget Mike Callahan, Chief Ornithologist at Caledon State Park, although not able to attend, he was instrumental in getting this idea off the ground and into reality! Thank you, Mike!


Festival news

Our committee has been working hard to bring everyone a great festival for next year. We have a great team with a new addition, Jessica Ruthenberg, Watchable Wildlife Biologist, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, she is in an advisor capacity and we are so appreciative. The committee has been working on the following items:

  • We are contacting potential speakers and creating an educational program not only for adults but for families and especially children. Stay tuned for updates

  • We have been approved by the Virginia Tourism Corporation for the logo, Virginia is for Osprey Lovers. That is very exciting news and you will see it on all of our social media and printed material.

  • We have our own logo that will follow us year after year. Thank you, Bob Smith, for your beautiful design.

  • 50% of all profits will be designated for ospreys and wildlife in Colonial Beach.

  • Our website and Facebook page is in the process of being revamped, please be patient as we work through all of the intricacies of this undertaking. We hope you like what you see so far.

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If you have stories or an experience that you would like to share in the newsletter for next month, please send an email to: ospreycbva@gmail.com