Taking the quote 'the world is yours' to an extreme: The Osprey

Written by: John Canfield  

Published on Monday, July 16th, 2018 at 2:30 pm EDT

Written by: John Canfield


Osprey. Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield

If you ever find yourself in Florida and near a relatively large body of water (which is pretty much everywhere in Florida), you just may be lucky enough to spot the beautiful Osprey soaring above your head.
Osprey with breakfast. Photo Credit: Clare Canfield

And when I say lucky, I really mean that. The Osprey was one of many birds species, including the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon, whose U.S. population was decimated due to widespread overuse of DDT. Between the 1950's and 1970's, nearly 90% of the breeding pairs were wiped out in some areas. Fortunately, their populations rebounded extremely well after the ban of DDT, and it is estimated that the U.S. breeding population is ~100,000 and growing! I love birds and success stories, and the Osprey fits both of those. 

Here are some quick facts on the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
  • The Osprey can be found on every continent except Antarctica . . . which is pretty awesome if you ask me!
  • 99% of their diet consists of fish that weigh anywhere from 0.33-0.66 pounds.
  • They dive, sometimes as deep as 3 feet, and successfully catch a fish around 25% of the time (that is a higher success rate than when I open the refrigerator looking for a snack)
  • For aerodynamic purposes, after catching a fish the Osprey holds the fish in a head-first manner as it flies back to its perch.
  • Female Osprey typically have a pronounced black 'necklace', whereas males have a more solid white neck/breast. This makes them one of the easier birds of prey to distinguish between the sexes. 
Osprey in all of that color Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield

Male Osprey in flight. Photo Credit: Clare Canfield
The unmistakable Osprey. Photo Credit: Clare Canfield