The osprey (fish hawk) has the unique distinction among hawks to be the only one that hovers and dives for food. Feeding almost exclusively on fish, the powerful bird jackknifes into the water with its talons tucked under its beak. With two sharp toes in front and two in back and barbed pads on its feet, it can swiftly grasp its prey and maintain hold.
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Osprey are migratory, traveling from their summer home in Alaska and Canada to the southern United States and into South America. During their lifespan, which can reach thirty years, an osprey will migrate close to 200,000 miles. This magnificent raptor was almost wiped out in the seventies due to the use of DDT, but since restrictions of its use were put into effect, the osprey has rebounded to become a common site in most coastal areas of North America.
I'm fortunate to live on Fidalgo Island in the Pacific Northwest, where an osprey has recently claimed an abandoned eagle's nest on top of an arial tower. The tower is located near the fitness center where I work out. It's not unusual to see local birders in the parking lot spying on our new resident. The tattered nest appears to have gained some garth and although nesting season has passed, we're curious to find out if this location pans out for our osprey. He seems to have his share of seagulls and crows to contend with. We're all pulling for him and hope he settles in and starts a family next Spring. Time and tenaciousness will tell.
|google image in public domain|
Labels: audubon, birders, birding, birdwatching, nature