The Osprey Family of Ocean Beach

by on May 7, 2009 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

Local birders have been flocking to Ocean Beach’s Robb Field in recent weeks. One big draw has been the osprey family that has nested atop one of the park’s light poles. This family of four includes a proud pair of parents and two chicks, who appear to be about 3/4 of the way to full size.

Wikipedia says that osprey nests usually consist of “a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed” and that Osprey mates – who usually stick together for life – work together for a five-month period to raise their young.

While I was filming the ospreys at Robb Field, “Dad” flew off toward the San Diego River at one point. A few minutes later, he came back with a large fish in his talons. When I left, he was snacking on the fish by himself, but one of the birders on the scene told me that Dad would eventually bring the fish to the nest for Mom and the kids to enjoy.

video by Shane Finneran:

Another attraction drawing birders to Robb is the female snow bunting (not shown in the video) who has been spotted in the area. Snow buntings are average-sized birds of the Arctic region that travel south in the winter.

During their winter migration, snow buntings usually make it down to the northernmost states of the U.S. before turning around and heading back north. So it would be unusual to see a snow bunting as far south as Northern California – and it is unheard of to see one in San Diego.

In fact, the snow bunting currently residing at Robb Field is the first to be confirmed as a visitor to San Diego County. And as any local birder will tell you, the count of bird species seen locally had previously stood at 499 – meaning the snow bunting of Robb Field represents the 500th species to spread its wings in San Diego.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie May 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Great video, very steady hand. Thanks for sharing.


Gary Gilmore May 8, 2009 at 8:02 am

I’ve been watching the Osprey’s for a while now and I’ve never seen anything as interesting as what is in the video. I don’t know how long the camera person spent waiting for this footage but, it was worth the while. Very well done.


Stu May 8, 2009 at 8:20 am

Very cool video. Papa holding the fish is awesome.


jon May 8, 2009 at 8:35 am

I watched some of shizzyfin’s other videos on the Readers website. Really cool stuff! Keep up the good work. It’s always fun to see your hometown displayed for the public in such a unique and positive light. Thank you!


Stephen May 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

This is great stuff! Ever since I was a little guy, I always knew that some sort of raptor would be the only animal I would ever want to be. It’s nice to see the natural side of OB. I am sure there is a lot more out there.


Shane Finneran May 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm

To all commenters: I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the video!

Mr. Gilmore: Believe it or not, I took all of those shots within about 30 minutes of showing up at Robb Field on a recent Sunday afternoon. I guess I got lucky and caught the ospreys during an active part of their day!


Kelli May 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I just saw an article on The Reader’s website. Looked a little deeper and found The OB Rag. I wanted to know if this was the same Osprey family that was nesting on top of that sailboat in the bay, or if this was a new nest. Anyone know? i just think it would be so cool if it was a new addition. :)


Judy Champ June 15, 2009 at 5:26 am

I have a few photos of the osprey chick as well as the mom and dad if you want them on your site. Let me know if you do, thanks, Judy


Frank Gormlie June 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

Judy – sure – send them; we like to post pics in groups of 6 (that’s what our gallery program takes) – our email:



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