Osprey, the ‘fish hawk’

If you were a fish you would not want to have an Osprey looking right at you! Osprey are highly skilled fishing birds that can spot a fish from a distance and fly down in a steep dive, splashes right into the water to grab it with their long talons. Though they may be able to just get their feet wet as they grab a fish they will dive as deep as three feet into the water to get their meal. They then quickly fly out of the water gripping the fish with the aid of specialized pads on their feet.

These majestic birds of prey “declined drastically because of pesticides during the 1950s and 1960s, but since then they have made a comeback and are nesting again in areas from which they had disappeared,” according to the Audubon Guides. Now they can be found throughout all of the lower 48 states, most of Alaska and much of Canada either during migration, summer or winter. They can be found on lakes,rivers, marshes and coastal waterways.


These are large birds with 5-6 foot wing spans. With brown upperparts and white underparts, they have a distinctive black stripe across their white faces that is shown well in the side view above.

Below is a fabulous video from Archive.org that dramatically shows an Osprey diving into the water, including underwater footage that shows it grabbing a good sized fish, then flying back up with the fish in it’s grip. It further shows an Osprey catching a very large fish, so large it can barely hold onto it as it flies off.

  1. Deborah says

    Hi SEETA,
    Truly amazing how keen and strong Osprey can be as this video has shown us! Can’t say I’ve witnessed their hunting skills
    such as these. Where I live near the N.E. coastline, they are rather plentiful during the warmer season. Many of our marsh
    areas are provided with platforms made just for their nesting purposes and a wonderful sight to see!

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