[CT Birds] Interesting Osprey behavior

frank wilson frank.wilson at yale.edu
Tue Jul 24 13:10:20 EDT 2012

I've the great fortune of being able to watch the goings - on at Morris Creek on a daily basis. 
	This week I witnessed on two separate days some Osprey behavior which surprised me. There's a hummock of mature trees about 400 feet from the road, with one or two dead ones with lots of long thin branches.  On both occasions, I saw an adult soar up to perhaps 300 feet above, then dive steeply into the hummock, at the last minute rolling enough to strike near the end of a branch. To my astonishment, the first time I watched this manover, a 5-foot section came off in the bird's talons. The bird didn't even lose much altitude, swooping off towards the nest with the prize. Next day, I watched the same behavior, but this time with no luck. I never thought much before about the advantage of this strategy - the bird doesn't have to labor so much as when trying to lift a fallen branch off the ground. 
	Many must have seen Osprey soar with large fishes still wiggling and thrashing, the predator patiently biding time while the life force slowly ebbs from the prey. They call while doing this - as if to boast what good providers they are, or  to call the family together to announce that dinner's almost ready. These displays leave not doubt what power these creatures have!

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