Return of the Osprey

It’s that time of year again, as ospreys have returned and have started to nest on platforms across the province. The osprey is a fish-eating hawk with a scientific name called Pandion haliaetus. It is a large raptor with dark-brown upper parts and white underparts, a small white-capped head with a dark crown, a distinct eye strip and a faint speckled band across its breast. Like other birds of prey, the osprey has powerful sharp talons and a hooked beak for handling their prey. The osprey makes its habitat on every continent except for Antarctica, most often near bodies of water.

Many argue it should be the national bird of Canada! Canada holds one-third of all ospreys in the world and they breed in the great white north between April and September. Osprey feed almost exclusively on fish and since they are at the top of the aquatic food web they are a great indicator of the health and productivity of the ecosystem around us. They are adaptable birds and are able to nest in natural and artificial structures close to water including at the top of dead trees, hydro poles, duck blinds, microwave towers and navigation lights!

So as you begin to enjoy the warmer weather around Glenbow Provincial Park be sure to keep your eye out for ospreys, especially near our very own osprey nest located just east of the railroad crossing. 

Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation

Photo by Linda Vick, osprey in the GRPP osprey nest