Image 1 by Chelle Koster Walton; images 2 & 3 by Terry Baldwin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Click here to view the Ocean's Reach Osprey Cam.

Osprey FYI
  • Occurring on every continent except Antarctica, the osprey is the one of the most widespread birds of prey. Their habitats include shallow water estuaries, lakes, and rivers.
  • Ospreys are a medium-large raptor, measuring 21-24.5 inches long with a 4.5 to 6 foot wingspan.
  • There are four subspecies of the osprey, each occupying a different part of its overall range and differing slightly in size and appearance.
  • The plumage of the local osprey is generally brown above and white below, with a whitish head, dark brown patches at the bend of each wing, and a dark brown stripe through each eye.
  • Females tend to be larger than males and have darker streaking on the neck.
  • The osprey’s wings are long and pointed, its beak is gray, and its legs are stout and heavily scaled.
  • The juvenile is fairly similar to the adult, but the head is more darkly streaked, and the upper parts appear scaled with cream and pale rufous.
  • Also known as a fish hawk, the osprey exhibits several adaptations to hunting and eating fish: dense and oily plumage, long and sharp talons, scaly soles, and a reversible outer toe that helps with carrying fish through the air.
  • Upon sight of its prey, the osprey makes a spectacular dive. Folding its wings tightly, it descends swiftly and plunges feet first into the water, often submerging completely. Another technique is a shallow scoop for fish at the surface of the water, where the osprey hardly gets wet.
  • Once an osprey has captured a fish in its talons, it turns the fish’s head forward to make it more aerodynamic as the bird flies back to its nest.
  • Ospreys three years or older usually mate for life and tend their young together. Once their young are fledged, the parent ospreys usually take “separate vacations.”

The Ocean's Reach Osprey Cam was made possible with support from "Ding" Wildlife Society. To help support this and other conservation education programs, please click here.