A Year on Clear Lake-Jan 18, 2013

…I’ll Be Watching You – Jan 18, 2013

The osprey, neither hawk or falcon, is in a scientific class by itself. With excellent eyesight and a sensitivity to movement, it can spot a fish underwater, then patiently wait for it to come closer to the surface. (See my earlier post for more info about the osprey.)

These  raptors are among the first of the migratory birds to begin the northward trek back home to breeding grounds. Some osprey begin to depart as early as February, so regrettably, my photo ops of this magnificent bird are limited.

Here’s another interesting fact about the osprey. It has a reversible outer toe, which is an important feature. The versatility gives the osprey  two toes in the front and two in the back. Other raptors, like the hawk,  have three toes in front and one in back. This features unique to the osprey allows it to better clutch its prey. Sharp scales on its feet also help its grip.

A positive, though, can sometimes be a negative, especially if the osprey tries to take on too big of a fish. The toe that allows the osprey to dig into its prey, also makes it difficult for the bird to release it quickly. If the catch is too big, if it is too heavy to pull from the water, the osprey can drown.

And haven’t we all been there before – taking on more than we can handle.