The osprey is found year-round in Florida.
The osprey is smaller than the bald eagles although many people confuse the osprey with the bald eagle due to the mostly while head. Adult osprey are dark brown above with a white underside and head. Look for the distinctive dark line that extends behind the eye and the gull-like way the narrow wings are angled downward when the birds are in flight.
Pesticides, shoreline development and declining water quality continue to threaten the abundance and availability of food and nest sites for ospreys.
Ospreys eat only fish and are known as "fish hawks," are expert anglers that like to hover above the water, locate their prey and then dives feet-first into water to grab fish from near surface. The undersides of the toes on each foot are covered with short spines, which help them grasp slippery fish.
In Florida, ospreys commonly capture saltwater catfish, mullet, spotted trout, shad, crappie and sunfish from coastal habitats and freshwater lakes and rivers for their diet.
Permits are required throughout the state of Florida to remove a nest, however, a replacement structure must be erected to mitigate the removal of the nest.
Ospreys build large stick nests located in the tops of large living or dead trees and on manmade structures such as utility poles, channel markers and nest platforms. Ospreys have adapted so well to artificial nest sites that the species now nests in areas (e.g. inner cities) once considered unsuitable. Nests are commonly reused for many years. Nesting begins from December late February. The incubation and nestling period extends into the summer months.
The clutch Size is 1–4 eggs. The egg description is creamy white to pinkish cinnamon, heavily wreathed around larger end with reddish brown spots.
Condition at hatching is capable of limited motion and covered with down and with eyes open.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The International Osprey Foundation
Osprey Coloring Book