The winner of today’s photography challenge is the migrating osprey (Pandion haliaetus). While on my walk around Boomer Lake I noticed a large raptor circling the lake, and once I realized it wasn’t a vulture I managed to get a couple of pictures. Thanks to the ability to zoom in on the pictures, I realized that it was in fact the osprey that I manage to get a picture of.

The Osprey hunting over the lake.

These raptors are only migrating though Oklahoma on their way to their summer haunts in the northern parts of the United States and Canada. The coloring of the birds are such that if you’re looking down at them (or they’re sitting in the trees or roosting somewhere), they look brown; but as they fly over head (and you’re looking at them from below), they’re white with their wings looking striped. They also have a white head, but have a broad brown stripe around the eyes.

Obviously the one that I watched for awhile was searching for something to eat as it as circling the lake several times (whether or not it actually caught a fish—I’m not sure, I didn’t watch it that long).

The osprey’s wings and tail make an “M” in the sky….

What are some interesting facts about ospreys?

Over the course of their life, ospreys may migrate over 160,000 miles (as they breed in the northern parts of the US and into Canada and Alaska; but they winter down in Central and South America).

They rely on manmade structures to serve as the base for their nests, though if they can find a sturdy dead tree they may build their nests on the top of that as well.

They only spend about 12 minutes hunting before attempting to make a catch (and they usually manage to catch a fish at least one in four dives).

They have a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp their catch with two toes in front & two toes behind. After catching their fish and returning to their nest or perch to eat, they fly with the fish facing forward for the least amount of wind resistance.

They’ve made a comeback after the banning of the DTT pesticide.