Always located near large bodies of fresh or saltwater,
Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) migrate throughout California,
as well as the entire continental United States. In the western
U.S., they winter mainly along California’s southern coast.
However, Ospreys may occupy Quail Ridge year-round, and have been
observed in both winter and spring. They nest on the northern tip
of Quail Ridge and at other locations around the reservoir.
Osprey numbers declined dramatically in the 1960s
due to pesticides, human encroachment on nesting habitats, and shooting.
However, the installation of elevated nesting platforms and a ban
on the use of DDT have reversed this trend.
Distinct from other hawks, Ospreys have extremely long wings that
resemble a “W” in flight. They forage predominantly
on fish by plunging into bodies of water feet first. With long legs
and highly specialized feet with pads covered in bumpy projections,
or tubercles, and sharply curved, elongate talons, they easily grasp
and hold on to prey. Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus),
which cannot catch fish as far below the water’s surface,
often steal fish from Ospreys.
Osprey nest near water singly or in colonies,
from April to June, typically in live or dead standing trees. Both
males and females participate in nest building, and the pair reuses
the same nest each year if it is left undisturbed. A female will
lay two to four eggs (usually three) yearly. After fledging, the
young may wander locally before returning to their natal area at
about two or three years of age; they reach maturity at three.
Species and Guild Accounts
Listen and identify birds at: http://identify.whatbird.com/mwg/_/0/attrs.aspx
Photo Credits: Title, California Quail
(Joyce Gross), Osprey (Glenn and Martha Vargas), Bald Eagle (Don
For more pictures see: http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/photos/fauna/