Osprey on the Hunt!

There are many reasons I am inspired by birds and wildlife, but maybe the biggest thing that I am awe-struck by is when I witness their absolutely phenomenal physical abilities they display just in order to survive from day to day. This past Saturday at Keystone Lake in Armstrong County I watched this Osprey for several hours on his hunting forays and he was a fine example of what I am talking about. First off, Osprey, like all birds of prey, possess out of this world eye sight. If they don’t have this, they will never find anything to catch. Secondly their flight skills need a combination of agility and power to go after what they find. In the case of Osprey they are always going after a fish in the water which requires tremendous precision and strength. This Osprey I found was a juvenile by his dark orange eyes. The adults will change into light yellow eyes.


Osprey when they are hunting will typically fly up quite high and do a lot of circling while constantly keeping a watchful eye to the water.


Often when they are eyeing up a fish, they will hover in one spot, as was the case here.


I watched this Osprey in the couple hours I was there perform at least half a dozen dives. Only once did he come away with a little fish. Perhaps with his young age he still needs to perfect his hunting skills. Most of his dives ended with him coming up empty.


Osprey catch fish much differently than how Bald Eagles do. Eagles will circle around and come in very low right above the water’s surface and when they come over the fish, they’ll just stick their feet into the water and grab the fish out with their mighty talons. The only thing they get wet is their feet. Osprey on the other hand will dive straight down like a missile, stick their legs straight down with their talons pointing towards the water and plunge their entire body in. Then they have to lift their wings out of the water and power their drenched body out. Then once air borne again they do a big shake to dry off their feathers. Here’s this Osprey doing the dive.


Which ends in a big plunge into the water.


If they aren’t successful in catching the fish they go back up high and begin another search. Here his watchful eye is looking just beyond his outstretched wing.


Looking even harder.



My money shot of the day is when I luckily caught this Osprey the split second before he impacted the water.


And the second after impact. Unfortunately he came up empty after this spectacular plunge.


I could’ve sat their all day and watched him. They are so fun to watch and you can’t be left but in total amazement with witnessing their breathtaking physical abilities. Here he flies off looking for another good spot to fish. Hopefully as this young Osprey ages he will perfect his hunting with great success!


Author: Steve

Steve Gosser is a nature and birding enthusiast from Western Pennsylvania who loves to capture the sights he encounters with his camera. Visit his gallery site at www.gosserphotos.com

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