HALIFAX RIVER AUDUBON
A Florida Chapter of the National Audubon Society
Serving greater Daytona Beach area
Founded 1923

 

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JULY 1, 2014 - The Osprey, or fish hawk, is found all over Florida along coastlines, lakes and rivers, often seen flying with a fish, head-forward, in his talons.  A master fisher, the Osprey soars over water, hovers and plunges feet first to catch the fish in his/her talons.  Having sometimes been submersed in the water, the bird rises heavily and shakes, while flying, to remove the droplets from his feathers. 

In the 1950's-60's, Osprey were seriously endangered by the effects of pesticides.  With the banning of DDT and related chemicals, the Osprey has made a good comeback in many parts of North America, and especially in Florida.  Many Florida birds are permanent residents.  Birds in other sections of the US are often migratory, traveling alone and following coastlines and rivers.

Courtship displays include the pair circling high together with the male flying high and diving near the nest.  He sometimes carries a fish or a stick during his display.  Nests are built of heavy twigs and sticks, often on utility poles, tall trees and on platforms erected specifically for their use.  The nest is typically open to the sky, with no cover.  The nests are often used year after year, with the pair adding nest material as needed.  Two to four creamy white eggs, blotched with brown spots are laid.  Incubation is done mainly by the female for about 38 days.  She remains with the hatchlings while the male hunts and bring fish back to the nest to feed the young.  At 51-54 days after hatching, the young take their first flight.  Since most nests are out in the open, the young can't practice flying by 'branching' as many large raptors do.  Young Osprey rise up in the nest and flap their wings to gain strength.  One day, they just know they are ready and take a leap off the nest and begin to fly.

The Osprey is a large bird, and sometimes mistaken for a Bald Eagle because of the white head.  However, the Osprey is a much less bulky bird, weighing about 3.5 pounds as compared to a 9.5 pound Bald Eagle.  The Osprey has a slim profile and shows a white breast and belly where the Bald Eagle has a brown body.  In flight, the Osprey has long, narrow wings which are always angled and bowed down.  The Bald Eagle has broad, flat wings when seen overhead.

Chuck Tague photographed this trio of young Osprey at River To Sea Preserve on A1A near Marineland recently.  The red eyes of the juveniles aren't readily seen in the photo, but were very distinct in the scope views.  Chuck also captured a shot of papa bringing home a meal.

Facts above were gathered from The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman.

 


Fall Springshed Academy - Blue Springs Alliance.  Six weekly class sessions to be held on Fridays, starting September 12, 2014.  Click on this link for a copy of the Academy flyer:   Blue Spring Academy Flyer 2014
 

Florida's Water & Land Legacy Amendment -- now classified as Amendment 1 -- will be on the ballot in November 2014.  If passed, 33% of the State's documentary stamp tax revenue (paid when real estate is sold) will be dedicated to land conservation, provide for outdoor recreation, managing existing lands and protection of lands critical to the water supply.  This is NOT a new tax, just an allocation of what is already being collected.  The amount of money collected by Amendment 1 from the existing stamp tax amounts to less than 1% of the State budget.  For more information, visit the official website by clicking on the link below.

Florida's Water and Land Legacy official website
If you would like to receive email communication directly from the Legacy site, please click here.

 


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