Bennett – Osprey
Received: Winter 2011
Bennett was brought to World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital in 2011 by some caring individuals. They found him on the ground in a field near Wentzville, Missouri. After a thorough examination, our volunteer veterinarian found that Bennett was simply succumbing to the effects of old age.
Bennett is now a permanent resident and an ambassador for Osprey. Despite his arthritis, he eats well and consumes trout as the main part of his diet.
Scientific Name: Pandion haliaetus
Description: Osprey are brown above and white below, and overall they are whiter than most raptors. From below, the wings are mostly white with a prominent dark patch at the wrists. The head is white with a broad brown stripe through the eye. Juveniles have white spots on the back and buffy shading on the breast.
Sex: females usually larger than males
Age: up to 30 years in the wild
Weight: 3-4 lbs.
Habitat: found nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs.
Range: one of the most widespread birds of prey and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Behavior: most are migratory birds that breed in the north and migrate south for the winter. They lay eggs (typically three), which both parents help to incubate. Osprey eggs don’t hatch all at once, but are staggered in time so that some siblings are older and more dominant. Osprey build large stick-and-sod nests on telephone poles, channel markers, and other such locations, typically near water.
Diet: superb fishers as fish make up some 99 percent of their diet.
Vocalization: have high-pitched, whistling voices. Their calls can be given as a slow succession of chirps during flight, as an alarm call, or strung together into a series that rises in intensity and then falls away – similar to the sound of a whistling kettle taken rapidly off a stove.
- An Osprey may log more than 160,000 migration miles during its 15 to 20-year lifetime.
- Osprey possess a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind..
- Osprey are excellent anglers. Over several studies, Ospreys caught fish on at least 1 in every 4 dives, with success rates sometimes as high as 70 percent.
- Osprey are unique among birds of prey; they are the only member of their taxonomic family – Pandionidae.