|Superbly adapted to a life of coastal fishing, Ospreys live and nest all around the Australian coast. The photographs below were taken of Ospreys being studied by members of the Society for the Preservation of Raptors (Inc.) on Rottnest Island, a short distance from Perth, Western Australia. At left is Flare, an Osprey taken into care by our colleagues at WA Conservation of Raptors, after he was burned by a gas field emergency flare.
Ospreys are predominantly fish eaters and have specially adapted feet with an opposable outer toe and special spicules on the undersides which allow them to grasp their slippery prey. Ospreys also prey upon small terrestrial mammals, gulls and crustaceans. They have also been known to steal bait from unwary fisher-folk!
The yellow eye of the osprey contains a pigment that acts as a "field of green breaker." This allows them to see fish under the surface of the water far more easily than a human being can. The wings of osprey are double jointed which allows them to "swim" underwater. When seen from beneath, the unique "bow" shape of their wings is clearly visible, making them easily identifieable. This special wing shape allows them to soar on cool coastal thermals.
Ospreys build large, untidy nests called "stacks." They return to the same nest every year to breed.
|Thanks to Caleb Delamare for information on Ospreys
Photograph of "Flare" the Osprey courtesy of Stuart and Amanda Payne, WA Conservation of Raptors (Inc)
Rottnest Island Osprey photographs courtesy of Mr Carl Danzi