Ospreys are starting to come back to their nesting areas in the Inland Bays.
Chris Bason, the director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, said he saw his first osprey of the year Tuesday. He was fishing in the South Bethany Canals in the Little Assawoman Bay when one flew over.
Ospreys are a key species to the bays, Bason said.
“They’re at the top of the food chain,” Bason said. “Everything that grows in the bay eventually ends up in the stomach of the osprey. They eat almost entirely a diet of fish that they get out of the bays and ocean.”
Ospreys were scarce in the mid 1900s due to the effects of an insecticide called DDT on their population. But since the 1970s, the birds have started to recover. Bason said a 2014 count revealed 92 active osprey nests around the Inland Bays.
“[For] the people that live around the bays and that use the bays regularly, ospreys are a part of their lives,” Bason said. “They love seeing them, they love watching them, they love watching them nest and grow up and start families, and they love watching their populations expand.”
The ospreys seen this month might be stopping in the bays on their way to habitats further north, Bason said. Others might be returning to the bays to spend their summers there.
Bason said the best time to look for the birds is during Hawk Watch season - from September through November.