Category   Birds of BC: Osprey
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Pandion haliaetus

The Osprey is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world. It is found on ocean coasts and along the shorelines of large lakes and rivers on all continents and islands, except those in the polar and subpolar regions where water surfaces are frozen for most of the year, and a few very isolated islands in temperate and tropical zones.

The Osprey breeds throughout North America south of the Arctic treeline, and winters from central California and the US Gulf Coast south to Peru and Brazil.

The Osprey is a large, narrow-winged hawk that reaches a length of 22 inches and a wingspan of 54 inches (1.38 metres). The Osprey has a short, hooked beak, a white cap, a dark brown eyeline broadening behind eye, a dark brown nape, back and upper wings The chin, throat, breast and belly are white, and the brown tail has a number of white bands. The Osprey flies on flat wings with a distinct kink at the elbow.

Also known as the fish Hawk, Ospreys search for fish by hovering over the water, watching the surface below. When prey is sighted, an Osprey dives steeply, its talons outspread, and plunges into the water after the fish. It quickly resurfaces and flies off with the catch, adjusting the fish in its claws so that the head is pointed forward.

The bottom two images were taken in spring in the Peter Jannink Nature Park on the shores of Shuswap Lake in Salmon Arm, BC. Nesting was on a specially provided platform set atop a telephone pole in the marshy foreground of the nature park.

The Osprey was featured on the Canadian $10 bill for many years.

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