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Ospreys at Patuxent River Park


Background

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is believed to have derived its name from the Latin phrase, avis prede, meaning “bird of prey”. Ospreys are a fascinating bird that can be seen throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during Spring, Summer, and Fall. There are approximately 6,000-8,000 mating pairs in this region, one of the highest concentrations in the world. The species exists on every continent except for Antarctica. They feed entirely on live fish which are easily carried back to the nest with their opposable outer toes and barbed footpads called “spicules”. While in flight, Ospreys position the caught fish headfirst to reduce wind resistance. Pound for pound, they are considered one of the strongest birds in the world, able to carry prey that are half their body weight. Ospreys mate for life, annually returning to the same nest in North America after migrating thousands of miles from Central and South America for the winter.  

For over 30 years, Patuxent River Park has been conducting scientific research to monitor the local population of Osprey. This includes installing nest tower and equipping birds with leg bands. One female has been returning to the same nest for over 20 years!

About the Osprey Cam

banding an ospreyThe two live webcams you are watching are located at Patuxent River Park-Jug Bay Natural Area in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. During June and July, you may see park staff handle the birds at these nests as part of our monitoring efforts. The park staff are trained and certified to do so. 

Please be aware that these are wild osprey nests and anything can happen. While we hope that all the osprey nestlings hatched in these nests will grow up healthy and successfully fledge each season, things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disasters can affect them and may be difficult to watch. 

Please consider a donation to help support the conservation efforts at Patuxent River Park. Thank you and enjoy!