Ospreys Use Bald Eagle Nests in Chesapeake Bay Area
Therres, Glenn D.
Chandler, Sheri K.
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Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) and Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) share similar breeding habitat in the Chesapeake Bay area and elsewhere. The nests of these species are similar in size and appearance. Ospreys typically build large stick nests in dead trees or on man-made structures (C.J. Henny et al. 1974, Chesapeake Sci. 15:125-133; A.F. Poole 1989, Ospreys: a natural and unnatural history, Cambridge Univ. Press, NY), while Bald Eagles usually build larger nests in live trees (P.B. Wood et al. 1989, J. Wildl. Manage. 53:441-449; Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, unpubl. data). Osprey nests are usually placed in the open at the top of dead trees or structures, while Bald Eagle nests are usually beneath the tree canopy obscured from view. Both select nest sites close to large bodies of water or wetlands (J.M. Andrew and J.A. Mosher 1982, J. Wildl. Manage. 46:383-390; Poole 1989). Eagles nest earlier than Osprey; in the Chesapeake Bay area eagles are on eggs when Ospreys return in March.