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Osprey        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Ospreys suffered catastrophic population declines due to pesticide contamination of the food chain in much of North America, but now they are recovering -- and in many parts of Florida they are abundant and semi-colonial.  They are superb and highly specialized fish-catchers, sporting huge feet with spiny no-slip surfaces and meat-hook talons.   Ospreys fish by flying over the water and diving spectacularly on their prey with an impressive splash; captured fish are hauled away torpedo-style to a perch or nest.   The birds pictured here were at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, the Salton Sea, and Bolsa Chica wetlands (all in southern California), and in southern Florida.   More images of flying ospreys are here, photos of an osprey with a large fish here.

  • Canon 10D, 1D Mk. II, 1D3, 1D4, or 7D2; 500 mm IS lens with 1.4X converter or 800 mm f5.6 IS lens, some with fill-in flash (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010-2015, 2017)