THE OSPREY

(Pandion haliaetus)

Osprey or Fish Hawk - le balbuzard pêcheur

The Osprey is found throughout the world, and is often seen in Southern Ontario, especially during their fall migration when many pass near Hawk Cliff, south of St Thomas.

Sometimes known as the Fish Hawk, fish make up 99% of their diet.

In North America they breed from Alaska and Newfoundland in the north, to Florida and the Gulf states, and spend their winters in the southern USA, Cuba, Belize, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina.

The juvenile birds stay in their wintering grounds until spring of their second year, when they head north again.

Typically, males are smaller than their mates, and have a slimmer body and narrower wings.

Osprey on a branch

These birds typically weigh between 2 - 4 lbs and have a 4 - 6 ft wingspan. The underparts of the bird are brown and the plumage of the heaad and breast, white.

The most identifying mark is the dark mast across the eyes, which is very distinctive.

These raptors have barbed talons which allow them to hold on firmly to their prey - however, this sometimes causes problems for these birds.

If the fish they have caught is too heavy for them to lift out of the water, the unfortunate bird may drown because he is unable to release the heavy fish, because the barbed talons will not release it.

Here is an interesting video of an Osprey fishing for its dinner!

Do you have a great story about Ospreys in your area?

Have you seen Ospreys in Southern Ontario? We'd love to hear about it!

What Other Visitors Have Said

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Osprey and Bald Eagles in London 
We have been keeping an eye on the Bald Eagle Nest at Fanshawe, they are very active. A week or so ago we saw an Osprey fly overhead while at …

Osprey in Hamilton 
Last night we spotted an Osprey behind our house. It perched in a tree for an hour and then flew away. Tonight the Osprey returned to the same tree …

Osprey in Bradford? 
My family and I were driving home through Bradford when I spotted a very large bird on the top of a telephone pole. It looked black and white in colour. …

Osprey sighting in Oakville! 
My two children, aged 13 and 7, asked me to find the name of a large bird they saw while at the local park. The biggest identifying mark they remembered …

Osprey in Colchester Not rated yet
This is an osprey on top of cell tower in Colchester, Ontario. Great picture, thank you for sharing!

Osprey on the Maitland Not rated yet
There are 2 young (?) Osprey building a nest near my house. This one was giving me a look as it flew over me. Thank you for sending us …

Osprey Not rated yet
I'm visiting London Ontario from the UK Ospreys are only slowly re-establishing themselves in the north of England and are still a rare sight. …

Ospreys in London, Ontario  Not rated yet
Here are some clear and close-up pictures of the Osprey eating a fish, I hope you like them. This was September 23th 2014. Thank you Josh, for sending …

Ospreys In my backyard Not rated yet
I live in Bowmanville, Ontario, and last summer I had the pleasure to watch two Ospreys dive bomb our pond for fish, late afternoon on a summer day. …

Osprey On The Grand River In Brantford Not rated yet
A family of three Osprey on the Grand River in the area of Brantford, Ontario. We managed to capture a few shots with my son while walking the trails …

Osprey on the golf course Not rated yet
Working on a golf course in King City just north of Newmarket, Ontario, I have witnessed an Osprey that frequents the ponds to hunt. I've seen …

Hawk fishing in Thames river in Springbank park Not rated yet
August 25th 2012, 2:30 pm - I took the kids down to the dam at Springbank Park, London, Ontario, because you can usually see Ducks and Geese down there. …

Beautiful Day and an Osprey Not rated yet
May 6th 2012, maybe 2pm at the Fanshawe Conservation area. We saw a bird flying pretty high circling the enclosed pond next to the boat launch. My …

Osprey Not rated yet
I recently sighted this Osprey with a freshly caught fish. Thank you for sending us this great picture of the Osprey - I will also post …

Osprey in St Thomas Not rated yet
April 22nd 2011 at around the noon hour, I and three others, spotted a very large Osprey flying over Kettle Creek. I found this site to identify the …

The Osprey are back :) Not rated yet
Well I am happy to report that in Dufferin/Wellington County the mating pairs of Osprey have returned to their local nesting sites. What a wonderful …

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