Pandion haliaetus

DescriptionOsprey are seen on a whale watching boat tour with Eagle Wing Tours in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Vancouver Island.

The osprey has a whitish body, very long wings in proportion to its body and osprey frequently fly with their wings in an “M” configuration. They are dark brown on the back with a white body. There are dark patches at the carpal joints on the underside of the wings. There is a distinctive dark eye strip. Osprey can be mistaken for gulls.
Length: 23 inches (53–61 cm)
Wingspan: 63 inches (1.4–1.8 m)
Weight: 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)

Habitat

Lakes, rivers, and seacoasts.

Nesting

Two to four white, pink, or buff eggs, blotched with brown, in a bulky mass of sticks and debris placed in a tree, on a telephone pole, on rocks, or on flat ground. Ospreys make their nests in trees, atop power poles and on osprey platforms near bodies of water.
Nest: Tree or platform
Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs. Incubation lasts 32 to 43 days
Fledge: 48 to 59 days

Range

The osprey breeds from Alaska, north-central Canada, and Newfoundland south to Arizona and New Mexico; also along the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic Coast south to Florida. It winters regularly in North America, north to the Gulf Coast and California. Osprey can be found in many places word wide. In North America they are mainly migrants.

Voice

Loud musical chirping.

Discussion

Ospreys search for fish by flying and hovering over the water, watching the surface below. When prey is sighted, an osprey dives steeply, its talons outspread, and splashes into the water. It quickly resurfaces and, if it has made a catch, flies off, adjusting the fish in its claws so that the head is pointed forward. Ospreys declined drastically because of pesticides during the 1950s and 1960s, but since then they have made a comeback and are nesting again in areas from which they had disappeared. Ospreys primarily eat fish but will also enjoy eating rodents, birds, small vertebrates and crustaceans.