Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ospreys Arrive at State Park in Time for 10K Race

Jim Gerhart, Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park
Osprey pair arrive at the nest near the Discovery Center, Smith Mountain Lake State Park. The female is in the foreground.
The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s inaugural Osprey 10K/5K/Walk is scheduled for April 9th.  It is called the Osprey 10K to coincide with the return of the ospreys from the coast of South America or the Caribbean Islands to their nest at the State Park.  The Female arrived on March 8th and the male was spotted on March 14.  
This pair is likely the same birds who occupied the nest last year. They usually mate for life and once they arrived at the lake they immediately began rebuilding the nest They spent little time on courtship.  It is also likely this is the same pair who lost their chicks to a raptor, probably a Great Horned Owl, last year.  They are back to try again to beat the odds that over 50% of the chicks won’t survive the first year.  Park Interpreter, Jet Lawler said that it appears the bird’s nest this year is a little deeper with higher sides. Hopefully they have learned from their mistakes and will be on guard at night to defend the nest.  Maybe they are older and wiser and will cleverly outmaneuver any raptor threat that comes their way.  If experience is the best teacher, their brood may fledge this summer. Only time will tell if these common human expressions apply to them.  Last year the first egg appeared on April 6th, followed by a second egg on April 9th.  There is a monitor with a live feed on the nest at the Discovery Center, for the public to view the activity.  We plan to have progress reports on our webpage our facebook page.