You’ve seen them on top of telephone and light poles, in trees, at lakes, streams and our beaches. Often mistaken for a bald eagle, the regal osprey lives throughout our Central Coast. Actually they live throughout most of the world excluding Antarctica and in South America where they are non- breeding migrants.
They live and nest near water as they primarily eat fish diving up to three feet deep to catch their prey, although they prefer shallower water. The osprey is a raptor with a large wingspan that can be about six feet. The osprey is also known as a sea hawk, fish hawk and river hawk. The species is more than 10 million years old and has some unique characteristics other raptors don’t have. Ospreys can close their nostrils when they dive into the water and their outer toe can be angled backwards making it easier to grab and hold onto a fish. If you look close you’ll see their legs are a light blue. Ospreys live 15 to 20 years although there are records indicating a bird living over 25.
This bird is perched, drying off (you can see the wet feathers on its chest) after shaking off water from a recent dive.