ST. MICHAELS — Christmas in St. Michaels has announced the introduction of its 17th annual collector’s Christmas ornament, available now in local shops and online.
This year’s ornament features the osprey, whose familiar nests are often seen perched above channel markers, platforms and telephone poles. The piece was adapted from an original drawing by local artist and graphic designer Scott Sullivan.
Known as Pandion haliaetus, and often called the “fish hawk,” they feed almost exclusively on live fish. The osprey’s whistling or chirping call is as recognizable as is its distinctive flight profile and heavily flapping wingbeats.
Watching these magnificent birds from a boat or kayak can provide an especially good vantage point. Many waterfront homeowners provide nesting platforms and are rewarded by a summer-long drama as an osprey couple builds its nest and populates it with a growing family. Nests are distinctive, measuring about a meter in diameter and built from whatever the nesting pair can find — corn stalks, branches and shoreline debris.
Typically the harbingers of spring on the Eastern Shore, the migrating osprey may log more than 160,000 migration miles during its 15- to 20-year lifetime. Ospreys are monogamous, tending to stay with the same partner for life.
Once the pair is reunited, they typically use the same nest as in previous years and begin their courtship rituals. Once the nesting pair has built or repaired its nest, egg laying and incubation quickly follow, from mid-April to late May.
The young are fed fish and cared for by the parents until late July to early August, at which time the juveniles are able to fly and fish independently of their parents. It is a grand sight to watch a mother osprey teach her hatchlings to fly from their nest high above the water, with the little ones often falling in, rescued by mom or dad to try again and again.
The Christmas in St. Michaels ornament was first produced in 2004 and a unique image has followed every year since. Previous year’s ornaments are available online at christmasinstmichaels.org. Ornaments are gold-plated brass and presented in a gift box. All ornaments are priced at $20.
The 2020 ornament is available at these local St. Michaels shops:
All Pets Veterinary Hospital
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Store
Chesapeake Trading Company
Pemberton Pharmacy & Gifts
Shore United Bank – St. Michaels
St. Michaels Farmer’s Market (through October)
St. Michaels Harbour Inn Marina and Spa
St. Michaels Pet Supplies
The Christmas Shop
The Preppy Redneck
Trade Whims – St. Michaels & Easton
These local businesses receive no profit from selling the ornament. All proceeds from Christmas in St. Michaels collector’s ornaments support local nonprofit organizations whose work enriches the community.
Christmas in St. Michaels is held annually on the second weekend in December, although this year the event will be largely virtual. Please visit www.christmasinstmichaels.org to see the many virtual activities and items for sale.
The mission of Christmas in St. Michaels is to provide resources to help local non-profit groups enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Bay Hundred community. In 1987, a group of volunteers recognized the need for daycare services in the community. A daycare center was established and, since that time, the annual fund-raising weekend event has raised more than $1.4 million for local, non-profit organizations. For 33 years, funds raised have benefited local citizens of all ages.