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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Musings on Osprey

Osprey - from All About Birds

One of the largest birds of prey in North America, the Osprey eats almost exclusively fish. It is one of the most widespread birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica.

  • Large raptor.
  • White breast and belly.
  • Black back and wings.
  • Long wings, held with wingtips angled slightly backwards.
  • Dark eyestripe.
  • Crown and forehead white.
  • Size: 54-58 cm (21-23 in)
  • Wingspan: 150-180 cm (59-71 in)
  • Weight: 1400-2000 g (49.42-70.6 ounces)
  • Sexes similar; female larger and tends to have fuller and. darker chest band
  • Calls are short, chirping whistles
We have been watching Osprey for 5 years, now. Several pairs have nested on the mile-long island wildlife preserve down the middle of the lake. We listened to the babies squawking as the parent came toward the nest with a fish, we watched the parents fishing in the lake, but that is rare. It seems that they carry fish from the Indian River Lagoon, less than a mile away.

This year I watched one bird flying with several others, but squawking up a storm while carrying some kind of nesting material. I thought at first that he had something wound around his legs and was in trouble but as I watched there was more happening.
The Osprey started circling the cell phone tower just across the little bay. While I watched he placed the stick and left.

Since then I have seen the nest grow and a pair of Osprey take up residence. In the early morning one or the other will spread his wings and just step off the tower. It is so high that there is no need to flap those great wings. It certainly seems like they enjoy riding the wind. What a choice of a perch! The tower is more than 10 times taller than the tallest tree. Their view must be spectacular.

I will be watching all spring for the first signs of nestlings.


DiAnn said...

I love the description you have included with your photos. So many times I have viewed a nature photo and wondered - where is this bird from - what is its scientific name or what do most people call it - when I moved to Texas I was like a "bird out of water" so to speak - the plants and animals I was accustomed to seeing were different from what I was seeing in Texas and when I would ask people what the animal or plant was they would say a word - that I knew meant something different in East Tennessee. So, your description is great. The nice contrast in your Ospreys is great - I love to see the contrast - It helps me to distinguish the features. Great job on the photos and congratulations on your new camera.

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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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