The Buzzard in the Bay

Buzzards Bay is a 28 mile long body of water lined on one side by the mainland of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and on the other by Cape Cod, the Elizabeth Islands and Martha’s Vineyard.  Buzzards Bay is named after the osprey’s that thrived along the bay.  Osprey are very different from buzzards, but the name stuck anyway.  Names have a way of doing that.

The saltiness and warmth of Buzzards Bay make it an attractive place to bob around in during the late summer and early fall.  The bay is considered “an estuary of national importance” in the late 1980’s.  There’s no doubt that the bay teams with thousands or millions of fish, shellfish and the birds and wildlife that feed on them.  The king of all feeders is the osprey.  Watching them float and dive for fish is one of the highlights of being down here.  Thankfully they’ve rebounded from the catastrophic introduction of DDT and other insecticides into the environment.

That  some explorer 400 years ago can mistake an osprey for a buzzard and name the place after that mistake is interesting.  What even more interesting is it didn’t evolve over time to something more accurate.  I guess once you start associating a location with a name it would be confusing to suddenly call it something else.  So the genie has left the bottle and there’s no changing the name now.  Which is a shame because Osprey Bay is a pretty damned good name if you ask me.

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