Late afternoon I watched this Osprey scanning a small pond as it was perched on top of a tall pine tree, then suddenly it dove into the water to get a fish, but came up empty clawed. No dinner for this one tonight. Hopefully tomorrow it will have better luck.
Photographed in Sun City Center, FL
Osprey-(Pandion haliaetus) The osprey is a species of raptor that is sometimes mistaken for the bald eagle. Ospreys have a white underside and head, and a brownish upper body with a black line across the eyes that extends to the wings. Several features distinguish the osprey from other birds of prey, including a reversible fourth toe and spines located on their feet that are used to help grasp their prey as they fly over the water. Ospreys hunt by diving to the water's surface from some 30 to 100 feet up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance. The osprey’s diet primarily consists of different species of fish including scatfish, mullet, spotted trout, shad, crappie, sunfish, and others. Feeding areas include most open-water habitats along the coast and freshwater lakes and rivers. Nesting usually begins in December and lasts until February. Nests are found in large trees, utility poles, channel markers, and in urbanized areas where ospreys readily utilize man-made nesting platforms. Like other birds of prey, ospreys will reuse their nests for many years. In courtship, the male will bring food to the female to keep her from mating with another osprey. Females lay two to four yellowish eggs that are incubated for approximately 32 days. Both adults tend to the eggs and nestlings, though the female does more while the male brings food to the nest. Young osprey take their first flight around 55 days after hatching, and the adults feed young until they are approximately 100 days old.
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March 12th, 2018
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