Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ABC Wednesday

The featured letter this week is O

O is for Osprey


The Similkameen Valley is known as the Valley of Eagles, but around the high lakes and along the river  the Osprey is plentiful and calls the Similkameen home as well.

Anatomically the Osprey resembles the eagle, but has narrow wings which are markedly angled, and peculiar structure of feet and claws.  Unlike other raptors the Osprey has four equal toes, with the outer ones being reversible making it a cinch for the bird to grab its prey with two toes pointing forwards and two pointing back.  'A long, sharp, curved claw on each toe, and short rigid spikes on the sole of each foot give the bird a firm grip on its slippery prey, which nearly always consists of fish that the bird catches alive...'

The Osprey patrols over water in its territory several times a day and when it sees a fish it hovers until the fish is in a suitable position, then ' dives from the sky with its wings half closed and claws stretched forward, disappearing under the surface in a great spray of water and reappearing a few seconds later with a fish firmly clutched in its claws'.

The Osprey is somewhat smaller than the Eagle, and despite the advantage of its claw structure it sometimes loses its prey to the larger bird.

photo by Ed Shultz

The Eagle can be very aggresive when in the mood to snatch the Osprey's fish, but the Osprey can be very persistent about hanging on, and it has been remarked that the Eagle sometimes spends more energy in stealing than it would in honestly fishing for its own dinner.

Ospreys have large nests made out of a great variety of sticks and found products interwoven into a vast and untidy structure.  The female usually lays three eggs, and although mortality can be high amongst the young the bird can live beyond twenty years.

Here is a photo borrowed from the internet of an Osprey nest close to the water, perhaps on a stump...


but I have usually seen them high in the trees surrounding a lake or even on the top of poles.......


Bell-Irving has an heliocopter named The Osprey and I presume in its flying ability it has many attributes of this powerful raptor.



Fly on over to ABC Wednesday to see other O 's, thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and the kind people who assist with this meme.

14 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Such a beautiful bird! Love the Osprey! Very interesting post for the day! Hope your week is going well!

Sylvia

Manang Kim said...

Beautiful bird and they last for 20 years that is awesome! Hope nobody is shooting them. Happy Wednesday!

ABC Wednesday~O

Tumblewords: said...

They live around here, too, and are such a pleasure to watch. Amazing nest building capabilities!

Barb said...

You're so lucky to have plentiful Eagles AND Osprey, Hildred. I enjoyed your informative post!

Joy said...

How wonderful to have many ospreys. Fabulous sight when they take a fish. They became extinct here but then recolonised and numbers are growing especially in Scotland. Still rarer in England so there is an Osprey webcam on the nest by Bassenthwaite Lake.

Roger Owen Green said...

I didn't know the diff between eagles & ospreys; thanks for that.

ROGER, ABC Wednesday team

Paula Scott said...

I love it! Good choice for the letter, O! We have Ospreys here too and I am always in awe when I see them. Great images.

dragonfly said...

I love you post, I too picked birds... I was to pick the osprey so glad I changed to the Burrowing Owl!!
http://www.gardenersreach.com/post/O-is-for-Owl.aspx

Lisa said...

Magnificent birds! I've never seen one in person. I'm sure they are show stoppers.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for this interesting and informative post! We have no ospreys in my neighbourhood nor do we have eagles. We have smaller kind of raptors.

jabblog said...

What an interesting post. I love to see raptors - they are so graceful in flight though red in beak and claw ;-)
I like your Spring header - so beautiful.

Serline said...

I used to think of it as a more handsome looking eagle, a Richard Gere version. Thanks for the information.

Gerald (Ackworth born) said...

Ospreys are very rare in the UK - had a glimpse of one in Scotland very many years ago.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Wonderful birds - a great O post. A