Bird of The Week – Osprey

Osprey.  (Pandion haliaetusThis raptor is our subject this week.  It feeds on mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects, according to Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America.  A large long-winged hawk with a short, fairly slender body.   It is 23 inches long,  has a wing-span of 63 inches, and weighs 3.5 pounds.  It is dark in color above, with  white breast and white crown.  Click on the above link for more info.

Osprey eating lunch

This unique species captures fish by hovering, then plunging feet-first into water, as shown in the following series of photographs that I captured as he caught a meal in the Concho River in San Angelo, Texas.  These first three photos show him hitting the water as he sights his prey.

In this fourth photo, you can see that he has a fish tucked underneath.

In these final three images you can see it hanging freely as he flys away.  The weight of the catch nearly drags him down near the water in the last photo.

These images were captured with my Canon EOS 40D about two years ago.  I had my 100-400mm lens on the camera.  I picked the osprey up in the viewfinder as he started to make his pass.  I was shooting in the multiple image mode of about four frames per second.   I panned with him and kept the shutter pressed down.   EXIF info is ISO 400, 1/1250 per sec at f8.

But, he wasn’t finished.  He then circled around and made this “victory” pass.

Osprey with victorious catch

As a side note, Holly at  suggested several weeks ago that I publish a series of “action” photos showing a raptor catching a fish.  I hope you enjoyed them.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Happy birding!!

15 thoughts on “Bird of The Week – Osprey

  1. Not sure if you’ve ever seen this, but it is an extraordinary video account of an osprey on a daily fishing expedition. These raptors amaze me with their capabilities! The size of that fish at the end…wow.

  2. Fantastic and fascinating, Bob. We used to watch a family of osprey that nested in a dead tree at a little lake nearby for years. It was so moving to watch them feed the huge babies in the nest as we canoed on the lake even though we could see very little of them. Unfortunately the tree blew down one winter and we haven’t had the fortune to find the new nest.

    • Thanks for the nice comment, Cindy. You canoeing on the lake and watching the ospreys sounds so idylic. In your comment on the hawk photo, continuous shooting was discussed, and this was one set of images that made having it worthwhile.


  3. Pingback: Holly Hobbie | Photo By Holly

  4. Bob – I LOVE it!! I absolutely LOVE it!! 🙂 This is EXACTLY what I had in mind!! You need to display these somehow – I love how they tell the story of the osprey catching his prey!! PERFECT!! Thank you for sharing these – I will definitely have to link back to this page in my next post!

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