A Bird’s Eye View


When you think of the Menchville parking lot, a couple things come to mind: speeding students, crazy long carpool lines, and “perfect” parking jobs to name a few. The family of ospreys that make their home on one of the light posts might not be the first thing people think of but it’s worth talking about. 


The Chesapeake Bay region is home to the highest concentration of ospreys for about half a year. They are a migratory species so they spend the winter months basking in the warmer weather of South America. This time of year is typically when the birds begin their trek back up the coast to assume their summer homes in Virginia. Ospreys are common birds that can be found all around the world, excluding Antarctica, and their only necessary contiguity is that they are near water since their diet mainly consists of fish. To spot an osprey, look for their approximate five-foot wingspan with white and dark brown feathers accented by stunning yellow eyes.

The pair of ospreys, also called a duet, that have nested at Menchville have been part of the community for years. First, they made their home on a light post in the baseball field. Unfortunately, that post was removed and the birds had to adjust accordingly. Now, they return each season to their distinguishable home atop a central light post in the student parking lot. This location gives them a great vantage point, away from predators and close to the Warwick River just down the road. It is also perfect for welcoming new hatchlings, an ongoing tradition that keeps generations of ospreys making Menchville their part time home. Their nest is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, MBTA, which prohibits anyone from hunting, selling, or transporting migratory birds, their nests, or eggs. 


As studies have shown regarding osprey migration, their stay in the 757 might actually be extending. Waters are warming due to global warming which is keeping fish in town. Without having to chase their prey down the east coast, ospreys are able to stick around a few more weeks into the fall and come back a little sooner in the spring. Luckily, ospreys are a highly adaptable species, which is evident by their wide range of habitats. If this progresses, these ospreys could be full time monarchs.