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
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.
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
Florida's Water and Land Legacy official
If you would like to
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