mt.gov Montana Official State Travel Site
Facebook Flickr Twitter Youtube 1.800.847.4868

Osprey

Ospreys could teach most fly fishing enthusiasts a thing or two about catching trout; in fact, they are probably the most skilled fishers of all birds of prey. They're noted for their dramatic, feet-first plunges into the water to capture their prey. Reversible front toes and "spicules" on the bottom of their feet help them grasp and hold slippery fish.After catching a fish, they rotate their talons to hold the fish parellel to their bodies, improving aerodynamics.

Osprey
Pandion haliaetus

They are dark brown above, white below, with white heads and a prominent black eye stripe. Females usually have a dark spotted "necklace." Adult ospreys can easily have a wingspan of close to 6 feet. As you might expect, these big birds need big nests.

Ospreys build their nests at the tops of dead trees, on power poles or on docks—just about any place with a view of the open water. Not surprisingly, they nest on lakes, reservoirs and rivers. In early October, ospreys leave for winter to Central and South America. By then, the young have left the nest and become expert fishers.