Ospreys: The True ‘Flying’ Fishermen

Driving around the Jackson Hole valley, you see many tall poles with platforms at the top erected in open fields—these are artificial nesting platforms built for Ospreys which are beautiful raptors, birds of prey. Ospreys are excellent hunters and almost exclusively eat fish. They can be seen diving and catching their prey around local ponds, lakes and rivers.

If you look closely at an osprey with its catch while in flight, you’ll see that the bird will orient the fish facing headfirst so that wind resistance is minimized. Ospreys have special grips on their feet and their claws enable them to carry their catch long distances.

Ospreys look similar, and many times are mistaken for, bald eagles, but can be distinguished from the eagle by the osprey’s white undersides, as well as a distinctive black eye patch. Bald eagles regularly harass osprey for their game, and it is an exciting experience to see eagles and osprey in mid flight battling for the prize fish.

We regularly see ospreys on our Grand Teton National Park tours, especially around the Snake River, Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake as they spend their days fishing. On our Yellowstone National Park tours, we see them hunting along Yellowstone Lake and in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Matt Fagan, Buffalo Roam Tours Guide

To learn more about ospreys, check out Wikipedia and National Geographic websites.