Their cry is distinctive and can be heard all around tidal Virginia Rivers, Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean this time of year.
“Putting bird in nest” by Park Ranger Dave Symington and Lauryn Sacha, the District Resource Specialist
But one particular Osprey family has staff from Leesylvania State Park to thank for the survival of one of their nesting young. On a recent day in the park, visitors called the park office to let them know a bird in the marina area was caught in fishing line. Park Ranger Dave Symington went to check it out and found the young bird tangled in fishing line and dangling upside down from its nest. Upon inspection, Dave could see the bird had a fishing hook in its wing and a leg damaged by the fishing line. He carefully freed the bird from the fishing line while the nervous parents watched making their presence known with loud cries while circling the nest. I can imagine the noise they were making!
Lauryn Sacha, the District Resource Specialist, called the Blue Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Boyce, Virginia. The center agreed to take the young Osprey. Lauren and Dave restrained the bird for its own safety then prepared it for transport to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to have the fishing hook removed and begin the rehabilitation process for the young bird.
It took about four days for the Blue Ridge Rehabilitation Center to care for and treat the bird’s injuries. Lauryn picked up the Osprey and together with Dave, placed the juvenile back in its nest. The parents, though wary, accepted their baby back without hesitation. Because of the age of the young Osprey it was imperative the parents accept him back in the nest.
I had the opportunity to visit the fledging Osprey at the park, Lauryn took me down to the marina to show me the exact nest. As we walked along the fishing pier the nest was so close we could see each family member sitting there enjoying the morning sun. Maybe it was my imagination, but when Lauryn walked up they seemed to recognize her with more exuberant cries and calls!
Lauryn said the bird should be able to fly on his own within the next few weeks and hopefully return next year to build his own nest for his family.
Osprey family in the nest at Leesylvania State Park
The Chesapeake Bay Conservancy states that, "Found on every continent except Antarctica, Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are one of the Chesapeake's most amazing birds for a number of reasons. They migrate thousands of miles each year to and from Central and South America, mate for life, and return to the same spot year after year, despite spending the winter apart from each other.
After an almost 90% decline in population from 1950-1970, osprey populations have rebounded due in large part to conservation efforts and the banning of DDT. Osprey can be a valuable indicator species for monitoring the long-term health of the Chesapeake Bay because their diet consists almost entirely of fish and they are sensitive to many environmental contaminants. To make sure these magnificent Bay residents continue to thrive, we are working to ensure that river corridors remain protected and that the Chesapeake Bay can support abundant fish populations".