Osprey in Flight with a Fish

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Heading back to our dock, we had to pass relatively close to one of our creek’s Osprey who was eating a fish on one of the pilings.Β  I prepared for the presumed take-off.

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Osprey

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Preparing for that take-off!

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With fish in tow, of course!

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What a beauty in flight!

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56 thoughts on “Osprey in Flight with a Fish

  1. You’ll often see the fish headless as the male will typically eat the head before returning the catch to the nest so that the chicks are not harmed by a live fish. In any case, the fish is always carried with its head facing forward to avoid drag. This is also practical for evasive flight if the osprey is chased by an eagle.

    • Yes, all Osprey carry a fish head first for aerodynamics purposes. Smart bird! When they land, the head is in front, so it makes sense they eat it first.

      A first year adult male Osprey quickly learns his first breeding season to cater to his female with fish deliveries to her while she’s incubating eggs. In order to keep himself strong and nourished to keep up with her demands, it is typical for the male Osprey to still eat the head of the fish first before delivery. Once the chicks are born, the male Osprey will actually eat the head while in flight if necessary, trying to get back to his screaming family. I’ve also seen fish being delivered whole, flopping away while being passed to the female to feed chicks. She’s good at quickly securing the fish from injuring the chicks. That happens when the male isn’t hungry.

    • Thank you, Eliza! Great question!

      First I’ll mention, in flight Osprey carry a fish head first for aerodynamics purposes. Smart bird! When they land, the head is in front, so it makes sense they eat the head first when perched.

      While learning his first breeding season to cater to his female while she’s incubating eggs, the male also quickly learns he needs to keep himself strong and nourished to keep up with her demands, so it is typical for the male Osprey to pass on a partially eaten fish with that head gone. 😊 Another blogger mentioned in a previous comment that the head was eaten so the fish was dead to avoid injuring chicks. Could be some thought to that, but I’ve seen many live fish delivered, flopping, while being passed to the female. She’ll secure it quickly. For those deliveries, the male just wasn’t hungry. πŸ™‚

  2. Excellent photos, Donna. There’s no doubt…You are the queen of the Ospreys. πŸ™‚

  3. I gather he gets the delicacy (the head) and takes the rest to his partner. I stopped to see the previous comments, well explained. Great clear, close photos! I feel like Spring has arrived.

  4. Absolutely amazing Donna. I didn’t realise they were so aware of aerodynamics, but when you think about it, it makes sense! Thanks for sharing πŸ‘

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