Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus
Characteristics: Large birds of prey, ospreys are dark brown above and white below. The white head has a prominent dark eye stripe and the long, narrow wings have dark patches on their undersides. In flight, the wings are bent at the wrist, creating an “M” profile.
Range: Breeds in Central Oregon, but migrates in winter.
Breeding: Builds a bulky, stick nest in large trees or on buildings, bridges, cell towers or artificial nest platforms atop utility poles. Adults alternate incubating the eggs for 35 to 40 days.
Habitat: Found along rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal areas.
Food: Primarily fish. Flies over water and hovers when fish are observed. Plunges feet first with wings held back to capture prey on or below the surface.
Bird facts: The scientific name translates to “sea eagle.” Bald eagles, sea gulls and other birds rob osprey of their prey. Osprey toes have tiny bumps to better grasp slippery fish and the outer toe can rotate backwards to better grip prey with two toes in front and two in back. Adults mate for life.
Current viewing: Along rivers and ponds in Central Oregon; look for active nest sites on platforms along U.S. Highway 97 in Redmond and Bend.
— Damian Fagan is a birder, writer and a Central Oregon Community College Community Learning instructor. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Source: Oregon Department of Wildlife Resources, The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds (John Terres) and www.whatbird.com