Osprey Eating Fish

I went back to check what was happening at the osprey nest I am watching near Crystal Lake (Shasta County CA). The osprey pair continue to repair the nest. The last time I observed their remodeling efforts all of the twigs the osprey brought to the nest were very fine. Now they are bringing larger sticks. One time a bird returned to the nest with two sticks, perhaps an inch in diameter – one in each talon. It continues to look as though they plan to raise a brood this season.

I noticed one of the osprey (Pandion haliatus) return with a short, thick “stick” and land in a ponderosa pine about a hundred yards from my observation spot. It was difficult to see what the bird was doing from that distance. Eventually I began to think the osprey might be eating. An osprey’s diet is 99% fish. Could I get near enough to see?

Indeed the osprey was eating a trout. As can be seen from the pictures, it held the fish in its talon, head up. It began eating the head first. As the osprey ate down the fish, it would work the fish up through its talon to obtain more meat. The process was fascinating to watch. Much to my surprise the osprey decided eating was more important than being concerned about my presence under the tree thus I was able to take many good photographs from below..

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One Response to Osprey Eating Fish

  1. Pingback: Diving Osprey | The Nature Niche

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