Outdoors

Ospreys don't stop fishing after leaving for winter

WILDLIFE WATCHING — While bald eagles have move into the Lake Coeur d'Alene area for a winter feast of kokanee, the ospreys that put on a fishing show all summer long in the area left the area by early November and are migrating to warmer climates.

Last winter during a visit to Mexico, I observed dozens of osprey perched near a village on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja.  Indeed, they find as much bounty in saltwater as they do in Inland Northwest waters.

The video above shows detailed and instructive footage of ospreys fishing, including the underwater sequence of an osprey taking a flounder.

Ospreys normally begin returning to the Inland Northwest in late March.

See eBird data for Idaho for Osprey.

See eBird data for Washington for Osprey.

(“WA data are probably biased toward the west side of the state,” says INW birder Charles Swift.) 

WHERE DO OSPREYS GO?

Here's a blurb from Out & About on the S-R Outdoors page, Feb. 13, 2005:
 
COEUR D'ALENE OSPREY IN CUBA
 
An osprey hatched along the lower Coeur d'Alene River is basking in the tropical warmth of Cuba this winter.
 
The osprey is one of 20 hatchlings that were captured last summer in North Idaho so they could be introduced to South Dakota. Wayne Melquist, a North Idaho wildlife biologist and osprey expert, attached GPS devices to four of the 20 birds before they were put taken out of state as part of a migration research project.
 
The birds were put in man-made nests, called hack boxes, and fed until they fledged on their own.
 
“These birds didn't have any parents to tell them where to go for the winter, but that's true no matter what, since the parents naturally leave for the winter before their young do,” Melquist said.
 
Of the four chicks with transmitters, one is in the New Oreleans area and one got to the coast and then made a beeline for Cuba. Melquist is not sure at this point whether the other two are alive.



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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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