|The Osprey is a large
raptor (weighing approximately 4 lbs) that feeds
exclusively on fish. It is the only bird of prey that
feeds exclusively on live fish. They fish by flying over
water and diving into the water feet-first to grasp
their prey. The outer toe of the Osprey is reversible so
that it can grasp with three toes forward and one
backward or with two forward and two backward, which
provides a more stable grip in flight.
|The Kokanee Salmon is a
population of Sockeye Salmon that do not migrate to the
ocean, but live their entire lives in landlocked
freshwater lakes. These Salmon are
semelparous, dying after they spawn. During the
spawn they are bright red in color. The Kokanee is
smaller that the ocean Sockeye and weighs in at about 5
As many as five Osprey circle at one time above over the shallow end of the lake, watching, waiting. Below, just beneath the surface, red Kokanee Salmon browse, seemingly unaware of the watchers above.
|Suddenly, with a quick
folding of its wings, an Osprey dives and strikes the
water, but comes up empty. This juvenile Osprey still
has a lot to learn about fishing for Kokanee.
|Sometime later, with most of the juveniles
perched in he surrounding trees, an Adult Osprey strikes
and disappears below the surface of then lake. You can
tell that the Osprey has hooked a Kokanee because for
several seconds the Osprey just remains motionless with
spread wings, slowly floating to the surface.
Osprey has managed to clear its wings from the water it
may take a few attempts to bring the Kokanee out. As the
Osprey rapidly beats its wings the Kokanee may find
itself being dipped in and out of the water, providing
the Kokanee with a false hope for escape.
when the long curved talons of the Osprey have hooked
its prey, escape is unlikely.
airborne, the Osprey circles, slowly gaining altitude,
until it can carry its heavy burden into the tree tops.
There the Kokanee may be eaten in solitude.