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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Osprey: Its Meaning?

MEASUREMENTS: The Osprey has a body length of 21 - 24 inches, a 5 - 6 foot wingspan, and weighs 2 1/2 - 4 1/2 pounds.
HABITAT: The Osprey lives throughout the world near bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, marshes, mangroves, and seashores.

DIET: An Osprey’s diet is almost exclusively live fish, and includes a wide variety of fish species. The Osprey uses low, slow flights over water, and occasionally hovers to search for prey. When a fish is spotted, Osprey make dramatic dives from heights of 30 - 120 feet to plunge feet first into the water after their prey. 

REPRODUCTION: The nest is made of sticks and other material in trees, on cliffs, on man-made structures like power poles, bridges, buoys, and elevated platforms, or on the ground. The female lays 2 - 4 eggs that are incubated for 35 - 40 days. The chicks tend to hatch sequentially, 1 - 5 days apart. The young fledge at about 7 - 8 weeks of age, but are usually dependant on the parents until the fall migration. Ospreys become sexually mature at about 3 years of age.
NAME DERIVATION: The scientific name comes from the mythical king of Athens, Pandion, whose daughters were turned into birds, and the Greek words halos, which refers to the sea, and aetos, meaning an eagle. The common name is from the Latin word ossifragus, meaning "a bone breaker." Ospreys have also been called Sea Hawks and Fish Hawks.
  • Unlike Bald Eagles, an Osprey can become completely submerged during its dive into the water and still be able to fly away with its prey. Bald Eagles are usually limited to plucking fish at the surface of the water as they fly by.
  • Ospreys have an opposable toe that can face forward or backward. While the bird is perched, it usually has three toes in front and one in back. When an Osprey catches a fish, its feet and toes are positioned with two toes on either side of the fish, one foot ahead of the other. The head of the fish faces forward in a streamlined position for transport through the air.

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