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Osprey

Did You Know?

  • Ospreys
    An osprey landing in its nest
    Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
    Photo: Susan L. Shafer
    catch fish using their long, hooked talons.
  • An osprey sometimes plunges deep enough into water to momentarily submerge its entire body.
  • Ospreys often use the same nest year after year and add more sticks each year.
  • Nests can sometimes become quite large-up to 10 feet tall!

Watchable Wildlife binoculars iconWhat to watch for:

Size:

The osprey measures 22-25 inches, with a wingspan of 4-6 feet.

The female is slightly larger than the male.

Coloration:

Adults are dark brown above and white below with a white head, and a dark crown and eye stripes.

In flight, the osprey's long, narrow wings appear to have a crook with dark patches at the wrist.

Where to watch:

Osprey feed on fish, so look for them along coastlines on Long Island, and on Adirondack lakes, rivers and wetlands. Osprey lay eggs in a large nest of sticks constructed at the top of a dead tree or on artificial nesting platforms or other structures.

Listen for:

Slow whistled guard call - kyew kyew kyew
Alarm call - short clear whistle to faster, higher squeal

When to watch:

Osprey are typically in New York State from April to September. Some migrate to South America for the winter.

The best places to see the osprey:

Click on the links below to get more information about each site.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Mashomack Preserve

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Allegany State Park

The Wild Center

More information about osprey

Osprey fact sheet

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