SEVERNA PARK, Md. — An osprey family that inhabits a nest in Severna Park recently grew, with another addition likely on the way.
In a nest found at Severna Park High School, a female osprey laid two eggs on April 13 and 15, respectively. Recently, one of those eggs hatched. As osprey eggs usually take 36-42 days to incubate, the second chick is expected to hatch “any day now,” said Mark Jeweler, the President and CEO of Maryland Raptor Rescue.
The organization installed a webcam at the nest site four years ago, Jeweler said. A live feed of the nest is available all summer on the group’s website. The camera and solar batteries were donated by HD on Tap; Comcast provides the internet hook up, and BGE helped Jeweler and his wife Heather install the camera.
A pair of ospreys inhabit the nest each year, but Jeweler said it is difficult to confirm if it is the same pair returning each summer or not, as the birds fully molt over the winter, with new feathers often changing the patterns that would typically be used to distinguish the birds. Males can be determined from females as the males have a nearly completely white chest, while the females have a “necklace” of speckled markings on their chests.
Ospreys mate for life. Both ospreys will take turns incubating the egg before it hatches, with the female taking the lion’s share of that responsibility as the male goes out to hunt. The raptors live predominantly on a diet of fish.
The chicks will begin to test their wings and fly around the end of June, beginning of the July, at which point they will be considered “fledglings,” Jeweler said. They will continue to come and go from the nest until the end of August, when the entire family will migrate to Central and South America for the winter.
The adults will return to Maryland next summer, likely occupying the same nest for another brood, but the adolescent ospreys will remain in in the more tropical locales for a full 18 months before returning to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where they will find their own places to roost.