A few days ago, I attended a presentation called “Ospreys on the Patuxent” with the Montgomery County Bird Club. The presentation was by Greg Kearns, a naturalist and Osprey expert at Patuxent River Park in Maryland. He has dedicated over 35 years of his life to banding, tracking and building nests for Ospreys. The presentation was informative, inspiring, and fun. I thought I knew a lot about Ospreys until I met Mr. Kearns! Who knew female Ospreys have breast-bands and males don’t, or that Ospreys can carry a fish half their body weight? Ospreys have minuscule barbs on the bottoms of their feet that help grip fish and they have unusually long legs for reaching into deep water. Also, they extend their wings behind their body when they are about to hit the water in a dive (similar to gannets) because the impact would rip their wings off. I had a blast with the “fish hawks” of the local rivers and Chesapeake Bay.
Here is an image I captured in Florida of a Osprey.