Osprey

Osprey sitting
Note black eye strip

Photo by Dianne Earley

Osprey in flight
Note distinct color pattern

Photo by Rich Lefebvre

OSPREY

Osprey
Pandion haliaetus

The Osprey is a fairly common raptor but is only found on area lakes.

Species information:

Length:           24”
Wingspan:      64”
Weight:          3.5 lbs

Description:     Distinctive bird.  Back and wings are black, the chest is white and the tail is mostly black with some light gray stripes.  Head is mostly white with a black stripe through the eye.  When in flight, has a distinct color to wings.

Habitat: Found near large bodies of water.

Flight:  Slow, shallow wing beats. Long, narrow wings. Will hover over water and dive talons-first to catch fish.

Vocalization:  A high-pitched call, teew, teew, teew.

Food:  Fish.

Nesting:  Found in tops of  trees or rocky outcrops looking over water, Site will be re-used every year with additional sticks being added. Usually 3 eggs that hatch in about 33 days. Leaves nest in 6 – 7 weeks but remains nearby for many weeks.

Notes: Sometimes confused with Bald Eagles, but much smaller and has black tail and black eye-stripe whereas the eagle’s tail and head are all white when adults.
When Osprey’s are flying with a fish in their talons, they always hold the head of the fish forward, this is thought to make it much more aerodynamic in flight.
The only raptor that can be almost completely submerged in water, when it catches a fish, and take off again.

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