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Gauge Height: 5.33'
Flow: 5870 cfps

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Posted In: Birding, James River

Ospreys return to RVA

March 25, 2014 10:51am

Last Friday, after we’d gotten the photos we needed for our 3D tour of the Vepco Levy Bridge (the site of the future Brown’s Island Dam Walk), the team stopped under the Manchester Bridge to see what was going on on the river. There were a ton of seagulls on the water upstream of the heron rookery, and just downstream of the Vepco Levy Bridge we counted three osprey nests on the old bridge stanchions for the Richmond-Petersburg Railroad line (Only one nest had an osprey in it at the time).


Established osprey migration patterns.

It’s that time of year, the time when migratory ospreys make their way back to fish-rich places like the James River from points south to build nests and fill them with eggs. And there are a couple of high-quality online resources that will be useful for the budding Central Virginia bird lover or anyone who wants to go check out the patterns and urban homes of the esteemed fish hawk.

The Center for Conservation Biology has set up a very cool site that uses bird enthusiasts to track osprey nests all over the world — Click here and check out the map to see where ospreys have set up shop in Richmond area. The CCB site also has links to osprey cams worldwide.

A couple of days ago the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sent out a press release about their Osprey Tracking Project. There you can watch three birds outfitted with radio monitoring devices as they migrate back to Virginia and Maryland from northern South America.

Both of these sites also include resources to learn more about ospreys. Check them out, and when you’re near a local body of water scan the sky to see if you can spot one.

Osprey in flight. Credit:

Osprey in flight. Credit:


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?