Sharing the joy of birds since 1971

Archive for June, 2023

Port Tobacco River Park Bluebird Trail Update

Since the story about the Port Tobacco River Park Bluebird Trail in the June edition of the Osprey, the tallies for the trail continue to grow.

As of 6/25/2023, there have been 28 Bluebirds fledged and another 14 young and 4 eggs still in the boxes. Three boxes are currently on, and one has completed, their second broods. In addition, at least 3 Tree Swallows have fledged this past week. Photo by Rebecca Turner.

As mentioned above, there was unexpected, but welcome, residents on the Bluebird Trail. Tree Swallows built a nest and laid eggs in one of the boxes. The increase in Bluebird trails nationwide has also helped the Tree Swallow population. The males arrive first early in the season to select a nesting site. Pairs are not lifelong partners; they will select different mates each year. Tree Swallows lay 4-7 eggs that are pale pink to white. The Port Tobacco trail box had at least three eggs that could be counted. The nest cup appears to be a loose version of a Bluebird nest cup with a little extra something. After the eggs are laid, the parents place feathers of other birds gently over the eggs. For this reason, we are not exactly sure of the number of eggs laid. Look closely at the picture to see a second Tree Sparrow flying back to the box. Photo by John Posey.

Photo by John Posey

Members of Southern Maryland Audubon Shelly Posey (left) and Rebecca Turner (right) are monitoring the boxes weekly to assess the health of the hatchlings, remedy problems and track the hatchling development for fledge time. Recently, ants were discovered at several boxes but dealt with quickly. Photo by John Posey.

If you would like to become a monitor, please email

Look for final tallies to be published at the end of this season.

Check out our new Logo!

Southern Maryland Audubon has a new look!

Our bold new logo features our region’s iconic Osprey set against a brilliant sun. The updated logo was chosen in a vote of our membership at our 2023 Annual Membership Meeting and Picnic.

Olivia Lunger, 23, an illustrator based in Providence, RI created the new logo. A native of Bethlehem, PA, Olivia specializes in editorial illustration and print design. She is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design.

“I was inspired by the black, white and yellow color scheme matching Maryland’s flag,” Olivia said. “I wanted to use those bold colors to highlight the Osprey’s sharp, dignified silhouette against the sun.” Olivia visited Southern Maryland last summer and had the chance to meet some of our Ospreys up close and personal.

You’ll see our new logo on all our social media platforms, website and other communications.

SMAS logo and photo by Olivia Lunger.

Eagle Cam Family Thriving

pulled from the PT Eagle Cam, this pic pulled from FB and cropped slighly.

Hope and Chandler, the Bald Eagles whose nest is in the eye of our eagle camera at Port Tobacco River Park, have raised three offspring this year—a highly successful brood. In the picture above, the eagle cam captures three young eagles “branching,” or venturing out of their nest onto a nearby branch.

The eagle parents are now teaching their growing eaglets to hunt, fish and support themselves as they venture out. But like the teenagers they are, the three continue to spend time in their massive nest where Hope and Chandler still bring them fish and other fare. They are expected to leave the nest for good by summer’s end.

It will be another four or five years before they become fully mature and sport the snowy white head and tail so distinctive to Bald Eagles.

The Chesapeake Bay area supports one of the most productive eagle populations in the species range. Our rate of three-chick broods is one of the highest in the country. Hope and Chandler are doing their part to keep our statistics high!

All three eggs laid in early February hatched in mid March.

Southern Maryland Audubon thanks Charles County Recreation, Parks & Tourism and Wild Streaming for their support in providing a peek into this Bald Eagle nest. You can watch the eagle family live at the bottom of this home page at

St. Mary’s teacher awarded Southern MD Audubon ‘Conservationist of the Year’

Dorothy Birch with her “Conservationist of the Year 2023 Award” presented by Southern Maryland Audubon Conservation Chair Robert Lukinic (left) and President Molly Moore (right) Credit: John Anderson

Southern Maryland Audubon has named St. Mary’s Public School teacher Dorothy Birch “Conservationist of the Year 2023” for her outstanding work training the future generation of conservationists.

Birch teaches and directs the Natural Resources Management program for high school students at Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown.

“Dorothy has led this forward-thinking program for the past four years, training and inspiring our future conservationists, biologists, zoologists, landscape designers and others in fields where they will be instrumental in making their communities and the planet better places to thrive,” Robert Lukinic, Southern Maryland Audubon’s conservation chair, said in announcing the award.

Each year for the past two decades, Southern Maryland Audubon has awarded the “Conservationist of the Year” to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to conservation in Southern Maryland and beyond. It is the highest honor the organization awards.

“We can’t think of any mission more important than training our future generation of conservationists,” said Lukinic. “And no one is doing it better than Dorothy Birch.”

The Natural Resources Management program is a two-year curriculum for St. Mary’s high school students and covers a range of environmental, conservation and sustainability subjects in addition to providing hands-on experience.

Students also participate in community service activities.  This past year students learned to harvest native seeds and grow seedlings. They planted them in the “Front Yard” native plant garden at the St. Mary’s Public Library in Leonardtown.

Birch has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in environmental education. She has observed and taught nature and the environment in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, and Maryland. Birch is also a trained Master Naturalist in both Maryland and Virginia.