Mallows Bay

A brown and white bird mid-flight

Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA


The shipwrecks of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary provide prime nesting locations for many different bird species, including the iconic osprey. These distinctive hawks are at the top of the food chain in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and are talented fishers, often spotted plunging feet-first into the water to catch fish.

A map highlighting the majority of North America

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pandion haliaetus

DIET: Fish

WINGSPAN: Up to 6 feet


CLUTCH SIZE: 2 to 4 eggs

STATUS: Protected under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

THREATS: Marine debris; habitat degradation

FUN FACT: Ospreys were once nearly eradicated in the Chesapeake region due to widespread pesticide use, but today, thanks to pesticide bans, there are more than 2,000 nesting pairs in the region.