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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Osprey Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Osprey

  1. Once known as the fish hawk, the osprey lives on fish that it catches by snatching them in a shallow dive from the surface of the water.
  2. Though fish are by far the most important part of the diet, ospreys have been recorded catching a wide variety of other prey, including birds, reptiles and even crustaceans.
  3. Though almost all British ospreys nest close to freshwater lakes or lochs, they will readily fish in the sea.
  4. Some osprey populations, such as those on the Mediterranean islands of Menorca and Corsica, feed almost exclusively on sea fish.
  5. Ospreys are one of the world's most widely distributed birds, breeding throughout much of North America, Northern Europe and Asia and around the coast of Australia.
  6. All British-bred ospreys move south to Africa after the breeding season, with most wintering in Senegal and the Gambia.
  7. Young ospreys remain in West Africa until they are three years old, when they fly north for the first time.
  8. These young birds seldom breed until the following year.
  9. Though ospreys can be found commonly in suitable habitat throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, they do not breed there.
  10. In Britain collectors exterminated ospreys in the early years of the 20th century, and the birds didn’t return to breed until 1954.
  11. The returning birds were not re-introduced, but were Scandinavian birds that colonised naturally.
  12. The returning ospreys had to be carefully guarded for many years to protect them from egg collectors.
  13. Today there are more than 200 breeding pairs in Scotland, and almost all suitable territories are occupied.
  14. Breeding took place in England, in the Lake District, in 2001, the first English nest for over 150 years.
  15. In 2001 ospreys also bred at Rutland Water, the result of an imaginative translocation programme, with young birds from Scottish nests moved and released at the reservoir.
  16. Ospreys will readily adopt artificial nest platforms, especially where there is a shortage of suitable trees in which to nest.
  17. It is not only Britain where ospreys have recolonised. They returned to breed in France in 1984, and the population has grown rapidly since then.
  18. Ospreys are early migrants, and returning birds are regularly seen in Scotland in late March, with the males arriving a week or two before the females.
  19. Pairs do not remain together outside the breeding season, but the same pair will often breed together at the same eyrie in subsequent years.
  20. Unlike most birds of prey, ospreys like to breed in loose colonies, and the presence of one successful pair will often attract others in following years.
  21. Ospreys are long-lived, and many birds are still breeding aged 10 or more.
21 Facts On Osprey I1
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