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Some FUNkey facts about the osprey | by Erin *~*~*
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Some FUNkey facts about the osprey



I adventured last week with some fellow nature lovers to Estero Marsh

Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida, where we encountered this beautiful

osprey. She was quite vocal and animated about something as we passed

by the huge slash pine where she was perched. Here are somethings I've

learned about the osprey.


1. The osprey occurs on every continent except Antarctica. It's the 2nd

most widely distributed raptor, right after the peregrine falcon.


2. Ospreys have a reversible toe that helps them to hold onto slippery

fish. You can see the toe in this picture, gripping the back end of the

branch while the other toes are in the front. However, I have personally

witnessed the failure to hold onto a fish. Several years back, I saw an

osprey snatch a fish from the pond in my back yard, only to drop it back

into the water on the ascent. The bird circled round and round,

screaming in frustration, but was not able to find the fish again, and

eventually gave up. Lucky fish!


3. The osprey pairs for life, breeding with the same mate year after

year. They build a giant nest of twigs and sticks, often atop man-made

structures such as channel markers and street light posts. A pair of

osprey will cohabitate for about half the year - as long as it takes to

mate, lay and incubate eggs, and fledge their young from the nest.


4. 99% of the osprey's diet is comprised of fish, so they always live

near water. They hunt in fresh water as well as brackish and salt

water. What comprises the other 1% of the osprey's diet? They will

occasionally catch and eat small animals such as mice, rabbits, frogs,

lizards, or other birds.


5. The more dense the local population of ospreys is, the later in life

an osprey will breed. This is due to competition for suitable nesting

sites - places that will support the massive nests and are high enough

off the ground to reduce the risk of predator invasion. Sometimes,

environmental or wildlife groups will build platforms to provide more

nesting site options.


More photos of local ospreys:

(scroll to the bottom on this one)


"Sanibel Island" "Rookery Bay" "Estero Marsh Preserve" "Southwest

Florida" "Fort Myers"

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Taken on April 12, 2013