Osprey

Pandion haliaetus
Osprey nest in the Refuge/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

The Osprey is a common sight in spring and summer in the entire area including the refuge. It nests on the top of old snags, communication towers and telephone poles with man made platforms on top. Locations include a snag on the shoreline of Black Lake, and a-top a communication tower along the main road up the middle of the peninsula.

Be sure to look up whenever you see tall trees, communication towers or man-made platforms high in the air.  The Osprey’s diet is 99 percent live fish.  The bird has barbed pads on the soles of its feet to help grip slippery fish. In order to be as aerodynamic as possible, the Osprey carries the fish back to the nest headfirst.  Their outer toe is reversible so that it can grasp with two toes forward and two backward or three toes forward and one toe backward. This feature provides for a more stable grip in flight.

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Facts About Osprey

Outer toe is reversible

Wing tips are curled up in flight and look like they have been dipped in black ink

Only bird of prey that feeds exclusively on live fish