The Preserve's Osprey is often sighted along the shoreline between Frautschi Point and Picnic Point, surveying the lake from a dead branch high up in the trees. As the fishermen in the area below, the Osprey knows the best spots for catching fish. The Osprey can also be spotted from the path along the shoreline and the top of the Biocore Prairie, but his magnificent appearance and flight are most impressive from the water side.
Three experts weighed in on what species of fish the osprey was carrying in the photo by Arlene Koziol on the lower left. Pete MacIntyre, Red Bier, and John Magnuson report: "We think that the fish is probably a walleye. Ted's comments sum it up. "It is definitely NOT a primitive fish, but is likely in the family, Percidae. The pelvic fins are forward and the pectoral fins are on the side; pinned to the body. The white belly, robust body, flailed gills, and squared pelvic fins point me strait to walleye."
“When spotting a fish, the Osprey often hovers prior to diving, then plummets, legs extended forward just before plunging feet-first into water. Powerful wing strokes needed to take off after prey capture while partially submerged in water with a heavy load;Once in the air, fish is maneuvered in feet to be aimed forward, using fish’s hydrodynamic streamlining to reduce aerodynamic drag. Fish usually taken to an elevated and prominent perch, often near nest, where eaten." (quoted from The Birds of North America, Online, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.)
Habitat varies greatly (boreal forest to temperate coasts/lakes to subtropical coasts to desert salt-flat lagoons), but common denominators are: (1) adequate supply of accessible fish within commuting distance (10–20 km) of nest; shallow waters (0.5–2 m deep), which generally provide most accessible fish; (2) open nest sites free from predators (especially mammalian); such sites generally elevated (e.g., trees, large rocks [especially over water], or bluffs); predator-free islands; and, increasingly, artificial structures such as towers supporting electrical lines or cell-phone relays and channel markers; (3) ice-free season sufficiently long to allow fledging of young.”
The Osprey - Back from the Brink