Osprey – Highly Skilled Fish Hunter

A couple days ago, I noticed an osprey flying high above the lake where we live in Florida. It was probably the same osprey I had recently seen above the lake a couple times. Apparently, ospreys were back from wintering in South America. Some northern ospreys winter in Florida, and some Florida ospreys winter as far south as Argentina.

March is nesting season in Florida. Most likely, the osprey was almost returning to our lake daily, it probably has a nest nearby and hungry young to fee. Unfortunately, the nest is not on our lake.

When I saw the osprey, I quickly grabbed my camera, went outside and immediately focused on the bird. It was a bright sunny morning, perfect for hunting fish and for photographing the osprey.

The osprey flew in large circles above the lake and occasionally swooped down low near the water. Apparently, the fish the Osprey was seeing was no longer near the surface on these passes over the water. Ospreys are piscivores, that is, living predominately on fish. That is why they are also called fish hawks.

The osprey took a few breaks from fishing and perched on top of tall pine trees alongside the lake, while keeping a close eye on the water below.

I followed the osprey on each attempt, hoping it would catch a fish within my field of view. Unfortunately, some of its attempts were blocked from my view.

Then it happened, the osprey flew down and across the water, dropping its feet and talons just below the surface and grabbing a small fish. The unsuspecting fish was probably hunting for something to eat, when it suddenly took a oneway flight to dinner. I hope the fish died from being out of the water before it became a meal.

Notice the osprey’s long sharp talons, perfect for a one-foot grab of a fish below the surface. With keen eyesight, they can spot a fish from far away, swoop down with incredible speed, and snatch it in their talons before it has time to escape.

The above image is my favorite, showing the osprey and fish just after the bird quickly grabbed it from below the water and kept flying—flying straight toward me.

The osprey and its fish flew over the pine trees and out of sight, probably to its nest.

I included the below image, because it appeared the osprey was looking directly at me from across the lake during one of its ‘breaks’ in the pine trees. It apparently was not camera shy and gave me an exciting show, and opportunity to photograph it catching a fish.

About Stephen L Tabone

Retired Executive Consultant and Nature Photographer
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Osprey – Highly Skilled Fish Hunter

  1. Betty Pacheco says:

    What fabulous photos and narrative, Steve! Nice to see you posting again. I have missed the vicarious thrills your images provide.

  2. Pam says:

    Great shots! We love seeing the ospreys. What a wonderful day!

  3. Roger Jaimeyfield says:

    Brother those are magnificent.

  4. kensnover says:

    It has been a while – glad you are back. Wonderful pictures of the Osprey!! Will look forward to more stories and pictures!

  5. researchlady says:

    Love reading your commentary! Amazing photos as always! I have missed your posts.

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