If you have walked along our beaches or coastal walkways you most likely would have seen or heard one of these impressive birds with their high pitched whistles.

 

Widely referred to as “sea hawk”, “river hawk”, and “fish hawk”, are a common sight around the headlands and shoreline due to the adequate food supply and suitable nesting trees.

These protected majestic birds of prey feed almost exclusively on fish which they scoop up daily from waters of the lake and ocean.

The osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.

Osprey pairs are generally monogamous like most eagles and often mate for life with both the female and male osprey taking part in nest building, with the male doing most of the carrying and the female doing most of the arranging. Osprey nests vary in size, but they are generally quite large, built using sticks and lined with seaweed and grass. dead tree, on a cliff, or on a man-made structure in or near the water.

The female will usually lay a clutch of two to three eggs. These are primarily incubated by the female, for a period of 33-38 days.

The male is largely occupied with providing food during this time.

Raptors

Photo credits – Osprey with fish by Tony Northrup, Nest by Bill Dunson

 

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