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Birds of the Bible – Osprey (by Lee Dusing)

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville 2
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,

(Lev 11:13 KJV)
But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,
(Deu 14:12 KJV)

The Osprey is another bird on the “Do Not Eat” list. Here in central Florida, we see Ospreys quite frequently. Their nest are usually noticeable on platforms placed for them. On a road between Eagle Lake and Bartow, (which I have renamed “Osprey Road”) there is a nest in the V structure of almost every power distribution pole. There are at least 15-20 nests in about a mile or so. The Ospreys will show up after the first of the year and stay for about 4 months while they breed and raise their young.

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville
Osprey Catching Fish - Viera WetlandsThe Osprey is in a family by itself. They widely distributed around the world. They are closely related to the Hawk and the Falcon. They are 21-24 inches long with a wingspan of 54-72 inches. The females are slightly larger and both look alike. Their diet is almost entirely fish, but they do eat small rodents and birds. When fishing, they fly 30 to 100 feet above the water and will hover when they find a fish. They will plunge into the water with their feet under them to catch the fish. “Rises from water with fish gripped in both feet, pauses in midair to shake water from plumage, and to arrange fish with head pointed forward, which reduces its resistance to air, flies with it to” perch or nest to feed young. Can carry up to four or more pounds.
Osprey Eating - Viera WetlandsGod has designed the Osprey with several interesting features. Their feet have four equal length toes with “long, strong claws, curved about one third of a circle, and completely round.” “The lower surface, or pads, of the toes are covered with spicules, which help it hold slippery fishes; also, it is the only hawk that has outer toe reversible as in owls; this enables it to grasp it prey with two toes in front, tow in back. Its plumage is compact, which helps blunt its impact and reduces wetting when it plunges in the water.”
All quotes from (The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds) and photos by Dan.