Out Fished By a Bird of Prey on Lake Istokpoga

Out Fished By a Bird of Prey on Lake Istokpoga


Osprey, locally known as fish hawks or fish eagles, are the only living representatives of the family Pandionidee and the genus Pandion.  They are medium-sized birds (females being larger than males, 53 -61 cm (21-24 inches ) length with 140-180 cm (55-70 inches) wingspan.  The osprey’s back is brownish black, the breast is white with buff or brown speckles, and gray with dark bars. A dark stripe extends along the side of the face, through the birds eye.  The wings have characteristic dark “wrist” marks when viewed from below and are “bent” like those of a seagull. Juveniles are similar in appearance to adults, but the upper parts are more streaked and the long wing feathers are brownish-yellow.  The adult plumage is gradually acquired through a series of molts and is usually complete when the bird is 18 months old.  Ospreys are specialized for living near water, where fish constitute almost their entire diet.  The legs are long and equipped with long, curved (claws) ,  and the undersurface of the toes is covered with shorts spicules, that allow the bird to hold slippery prey.  The plumage is dense and oily and enable the ospreys to dive into the water, a unique behavior  among  birds of prey.  Other fish eaters, such as the bald eagle, snatch fish from the surface without entering the water.  

The osprey’s breeding range extends from Alaska east Newfoundland and south to Arizona and New Mexico. It also breeds along the Atlantic coast to southern Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Ospreys select habitat that is suitable perching structures and easy access to fish. 

Ospreys hover before landing, so they need nesting site where they can easily land.  They have been known to nest on both man- made  and natural objects such as cranes, building, bridges, nest platforms, telephone  poles, or partially  rotten trees with no tops.

All of these objects allow comfortable landings. Ospreys build huge nest which eventually reach “eagle size”. 

Most ospreys found in the United States are migratory birds, with an exception of those found in southern Florida. 

They return to breeding grounds from late March to mid April and begin nest construction or repair.

Their diet consists almost exclusively of live fish, although  dead ones may be taken occasionally.