Ballpark Ospreys

Lynn and I went to a function in Bartow, Florida this weekend and didn’t have much time for nature or wildlife photography. But we were cruising around her old neighborhood on Saturday morning and happened to notice an Osprey and nest near the Bartow Civic Center, so we stopped for a bit to investigate.

Osprey in flight

Osprey in flight

We pulled into the parking lot and got out to the sound of many calling Ospreys. They were all around the ball field at the Civic Center with many nests on the light poles and one or two Ospreys in each nest (most likely juveniles). Between the ones on the nest and the ones flying around, there must have been 20 to 30 visible. We saw this one both carrying a fish and perched with it.

Osprey in flight with fishOsprey in flight with breakfast

Osprey on perch with perch (?)Osprey on perch with Perch(?) –  This bird wasn’t too happy with me getting near its breakfast

I grew up when raptors / birds of prey were very uncommon and when I was young I certainly never saw any in the wild.  In 1963, there were less than 500 pairs of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states. I can remember when the U.S. banned DDT in 1972 (on June 13th, actually – 39 years tomorrow). Living in Florida now, I see bald eagles quite often and Ospreys all the time. Every time I do, I’m glad Rachel Carson wrote her book.

Some interesting Osprey facts [1][2][3]:

  • It’s a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide
  • Thankfully, it’s now evaluated as a species of Least Concern
  • Other names for Osprey: Pandion Haliaeetus, Fish hawk, Sea Hawk, Sea Eagle, White Eagle
  • They can completely submerge when diving for prey
  • They have an opposable talon
  • They generally pair for life, but if mating is unsuccessful, will sometimes “divorce”
  • A female will choose her partner based on the quality and location of the male’s nest
  • Parents will hold back food to encourage fledglings to leave the nest
  • Fledglings will sometimes move to nearby nests where they are fed by other parents

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

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