Osprey, or Fish Hawk, a bird of prey that ranges along seacoasts and near inland bodies of water throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. It is related to hawks and vultures. Ospreys in the United States migrate southward for winter. Ospreys are from 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm) long and have a wingspan of 4 to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 m). They are dark brown above and white below with white head markings and a dark stripe through the eye. Ospreys can be identified in flight by their bent wings and patches of brown feathers on the underside of the wing.

Ospreys feed exclusively on live fish, which they catch with their talons. Their nests, large heaps of sticks and debris, are built in treetops or on cliff edges and are reused for years. The female lays two to four buff, brown-splotched eggs, which hatch in five weeks.

OspreysOspreys feed exclusively on live fish, which they catch with their talons.
Can Birds Help Predict the Weather?

Not really! But the people who lived in ancient Greece thought ospreys (AHS preez) did control the weather. These huge birds were supposed to be able to stir up violent winds and cause bad storms. More recently, some North Americans who fished for a living also watched for ospreys. An osprey in flight was thought to be a sign that a storm was brewing.

Ospreys make big nests of sticks in dead trees or on power poles. Osprey chicks have camouflage coloring. This may be because their nests are so visible. Bald eagles, crows, and ravens will eat osprey chicks—if they can find them.

The osprey is Pandion haliaetus, the only species in the osprey family, Pandionidae.