Monday in Ospreyland

How does Osprey fishing differ from Bald Eagle fishing? The National Eagle centre answered the question this way:

“Bald Eagles and ospreys are both raptors (keen eyesight, curved beaks, and powerful talons), and are both primarily fish-eaters, but the technique they use to catch fish is quite different… and that difference directly influences their relationship to each other. Bald Eagles catch fish that are just under the surface of the water by dipping their feet into the water. Their success rate is about 30%. Ospreys, on the other hand, are built to plunge feet first into the water about 1-2 feet, grab the fish with their talons, and then shoot back out of the water and fly to a perch, something a Bald Eagle cannot do. Thus, their success rate is around 70%! Because ospreys (aka “fish hawks” and “sea hawks”) enjoy a much higher rate of success, Bald Eagles in the same area as ospreys will often perch, watch, and wait for an osprey to make a catch. Then they swoop into action and chase it in an attempt to get the osprey to drop the fish allowing the Eagle to scoop it up. In fact, one of the murals in the National Eagle Center features a depiction of two eagles chasing an osprey with a fish! As a result, areas with larger populations of Bald Eagles tend to have smaller populations of osprey, and vice versa.” The author also added a fun fact about Ospreys: “When they catch a fish, they orient the fish in their talons so that the head faces forward because it is more aerodynamic in flight! .”

“Eagle Fish 2018” by The Back Road Photographer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
“Osprey Fishing” by TomJByrne is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

As the birds migrate from the north of Europe and the UK, many fly through areas where hunting is banned but there are legal loopholes. Did you know that it is estimated 11 million birds are illegally shot each year? Here is a good article on this.

The sad news of the demise of a ringed (tan with number) Finnish Osprey killed has rocked everyone. The poachers displayed the bird as a trophy as it was dying on social media. I refuse to show those images – they made me ill but I urge everyone – wherever you are – to step up and try and protect these amazing creatures. Each of us can play a part to protect the birds whether it is lobbying to get rid of lead in hunting and fishing gear, having cities turn off their lights during migration season, working to ban rodenticide and sticky traps, or making others aware not to feed the birds bread but good food (wild birdseed, grapes, hardboiled eggs, etc). Feeding birds and providing water is right up there, too. Do what you can to help no matter how small or large.

Poor Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. It is the middle of the night and she is trying to get some sleep. She got up to stretch her legs and the chicks immediately thought “fish!”

Maybe they are trying out for the local choir?

Where is the third one? Behaving itself!

I wish it were not so hilarious. I cannot even imagine having three wiggly bodies under me never mind incubating four eggs like the peregrine falcons in Melbourne. They had a joke on their FB posting the other day that it felt like sitting on four footballs. Poor Mum and Dad.

It is election day in Canada. The sky is cloudy, the leaves are beautiful, and I think we will go for a walk and do our civic duty. Take care everyone. I will have a full report on Port Lincoln tonight. Thanks so much for dropping by.

Thanks to the Port Lincoln Streaming Cam where I took the screen shots today.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann. Enjoying the photos and the info on how the eagles and ospreys differ on their fishing.
    We look forward to the new newsletter this evening. Take care and enjoy your walk!

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