Chesapeake Bay Tracking Program
3:59 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Meet the Osprey

Credit Chesapeake Bay Foundation

One sign of spring is the return of ospreys from their winter grounds in South America to their home on the Chesapeake Bay.  Some of the birds are now on their way to Virginia.

The 2,200 mile trip takes about two weeks for the osprey, also called fish hawks.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been tracking four birds for nearly a year-since they last arrived on the Bay.  Spokesman John Rodenhausen says Woody and Nick are already on their way back; the other two birds have yet to begin their trip.

Quinn, the Osprey
Quinn, the Osprey
Credit Chesapeake Bay Foundation

“It has taken about a week for this one bird, Nick, to get from Columbia up to Northern Florida.  And depending on weather, he will probably reach the Chesapeake region-specifically Tangier Island-within the next week, maybe 10 days.”

He says the Foundation’s Osprey Tracking Project uses software to allow students to track their travels in the classroom.

“When you see a big bird flying over your head, you really never know exactly where it’s going.  But now with a GSM transmitting device, we can tell exactly where the birds are going, how fast they’re going, at what altitude.  It’s really kind of an interesting project for students, teachers, general public.”

The Chesapeake Bay has the most concentrated population of ospreys in the world.

Maps and related information on the birds’ travels can be found here.