7/20/2009

Osprey: Eagle of the Sea


Osprey: The only raptor that hovers overs water and plunges feet first for fish. Blackish above and white below, Ospreys have a white head with a broad black mask over their eyes.


There is only one Osprey: they are the sole member of the family Pandionidae. Sometimes called Sea Eagles or Fish Eagles, Ospreys feed exclusively on fish. They are fairly common in coastal areas, but can also be found near any lake or river large enough to support a healthy fish population.


A short tail and long, narrow wings with long, finger-like feathers help identify an Osprey in flight.


Ospreys often build nests on man-made structures such as telephone poles or on nesting platforms built specifically for Osprey. Ospreys had almost disappeared by the early 1970s due to pesticides (like DDT) that caused severe eggshell thinning The ban on DDT and providing nesting platforms combined to restore the Osprey population fairly quickly. (For impressive pictures of an Osprey carrying a fish to it's nest and actually feeding it's young, check out this Osprey post on BirdingGirl!)


This is what I consider the typical view of an Osprey in flight. The wings are crooked more sharply than a gull's wings, and the raptor shaped head is easy to distinguish from a gull's head.


The Osprey's mask is often the only way to distinguish it from another black and white raptor: the American Eagle.


This is an unusual view of an Osprey's because of the bright sunlight shining through it's wings and tail.

1 comment:

  1. Good photos of the Osprey in flight - impressive

    ReplyDelete

I love positive comments, critical comments,and corrections most of all!