Osprey on the Indian River
ospery with mullet fish

ospery with mullet fish

ospery diving

ospery diving

ospery

ospery

ospery landing on nest

ospery landing on nest

ospery with mullet fish

ospery with mullet fish

ospery mating

ospery mating

ospery nest building

ospery nest building

ospery nest building

ospery nest building

ospery nest building

ospery nest building

ospery with snook fish

ospery with snook fish

osprey in flight

osprey in flight

hovering behaviour

hovering behaviour

hovering

hovering

osprey chick

osprey chick

young osprey

young osprey

osprey with parent

osprey with parent

young osprey & parent

young osprey & parent

chase

chase

dive

dive

GGC_0380

GGC_0380

two osprey in flight

two osprey in flight

GGC_0352_1

GGC_0352_1

osprey

osprey

GGC_0336

GGC_0336

osprey & egret

osprey & egret

adult & immature osprey

adult & immature osprey

immature osprey

immature osprey

fledgling

fledgling

first flight

first flight

GGC_0255

GGC_0255

GGC_0250

GGC_0250

immature osprey first flight

immature osprey first flight

osprey fledgling

osprey fledgling

GGC_0242

GGC_0242

immature & adult osprey

immature & adult osprey

hovering osprey

hovering osprey

osprey chick

osprey chick

osprey chick

osprey chick

first flight

first flight

young osprey first flight

young osprey first flight

osprey with chick in nest

osprey with chick in nest

GGC_0196_1

GGC_0196_1

osprey fledging

osprey fledging

    2012 Richard Nickson  All Images are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED  UNLAWFUL TO COPY or DOWNLOAD without written permission
 
The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) also known as Fish Hawk, is a large long-winged hawk, (about 25inches).  It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, and although the Bald Eagle is a much larger bird, Osprey are sometimes mistaken for Eagles because of their relatively large size and majestic, graceful motions in flight. There are substantial differences however. The Osprey is much smaller than the Bald Eagle, and it has a different color pattern.  Both birds have dark wings. The Bald Eagle does not have a white chest, or underside. The Osprey's white underside is useful in distinguishing between the two.  They both have white heads, but the osprey has a black mask around the eyes to the sides of the neck, and the eagle's head is pure white.  The Bald Eagle has yellow a bill and yellow feet.

Males and females
Female adult Ospreys have a pattern of brown feathers across the white chest. This is sometimes referred to as a "necklace." The male's chest is plain white. The female is often larger than the male. Other than those details, the male and female look alike.  During breeding season the birds look the same as they do at non-breeding times.

The the Osprey eats almost exclusively fish. It is one of the most widespread birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica.

All along the waterways, seacoasts and lake areas of Florida you will find osprey. They fly high over water to hunt.  When prey is spotted they hover and then dive head-long feet first into the water to seize the fish with its' long, curved talons. With a grip secured by sharp spicules on the underside of the toes, the bird carries its' prey to the nest or a perching spot to feed.  They build large stick nests in trees and man-made structures such as telephone poles, channel markers, duck blinds, and nesting platforms designed especially for them.  They return to these nests year after year.  Such platforms have become an important tool in reestablishing Ospreys in areas where they had disappeared.

These birds were photographed along the Indian River and the Loxahatchee River in Martin County, Florida.  

Audubon's osprey
Richard Nickson Fine Art Photography