Osprey – Added to the Aviary
The Osprey is often called the “Fish Hawk” and for very good reason. Fish consists of about 99% of its diet.
An amazing fisherman, the osprey locates its prey from the air, often hovering prior to plunging feet-first into the water to seize a fish (much like an eagle). When transporting the catch to the nest (or pole or tree branch) to be consumed, it carries the fish headfirst to make it as aerodynamic as possible.
To see these and additional high resolution Osprey photos CLICK HERE.
This is a large bird of prey with a length of 22 inches and a massive wingspan of 54-71 inches. Osprey can be seen all over Florida, perched on a tree or a lamp post, doing what they do best, eating fish. Ospreys usually mate for life. Their numbers declined drastically in 1950-1970s, mostly from pesticide poisoning. After the ban on DDT, populations increased rapidly, however they are still listed as endangered or threatened in some states.
In the opinion of Telephoto Florida (TPF), and of Florida fourth through eighth-graders, the Osprey should be the official state bird of Florida (not the Mockingbird). In 2008 students voted to name a new Florida state bird. Voting results went like this:
Osprey 28,229 votes
Snowy Egret 22,668 votes
Great Egret 10,790 votes
Pelican 10,132 votes
Black Skimmer 7,736 votes
The Florida Legislature did not take up the Bill and so the Mockingbird remains.