Osprey cam up and running at Smith Mountain Lake

DCR's osprey web cam at Smith Mountain Lake.
DCR's osprey web cam at Smith Mountain Lake.

For the past seven years, only visitors to Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s Discovery Center could view nesting osprey live via a closed-circuit camera system. Now everyone can watch the growing osprey family live on the Internet by visiting is.gd/smosprey.

The special nesting platform and 25-foot pole were first erected in 2004 near the lake, in Huddleston, Va., with funding assistance from Appalachian Power Company, the Virginia Society of Ornithology and the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park.

“Ospreys instinctively build nests on shoal and channel markers throughout the lake area,” said Park Manager Brian Heft. “So we’re simply providing the birds a safe place for them to do what comes naturally.”

Camera feeds in the past have been destroyed by lightning storms, Heft said. This problem has been corrected with a new camera, camera housing and metal-free fiber optic cable.

The growing osprey family has three eggs, laid April 7, 11 and 14. If the ospreys follow patterns of previous years there’s a possibility of a fourth egg.

The eggs should begin hatching around Memorial Day, and the new ospreys will fly about 60 days after hatching.“But it’s not a precise science on the bird’s end,” Heft said.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Park activities and amenities or to make reservations for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) or visit virginiastateparks.gov.

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