• Wingspan of up to six feet
  • Approximately 2 feet long
  • Plumage is mostly dark brown on top and white underneath
  • Black, sharply curved bill
  • Yellow eyes
  • White crown and head, with a dark band extending back from its eyes
  • Female larger than male
  • 4 toes with long black talons
  • Female has speckled brown necklace across upper chest
Raptor Identification


  • Nests are made of branches, shoreline debris, and other organic materials. Nests are located near water on structures like dead snags, utility poles, and man-made nesting platforms


  • Feed on medium sized fish
  • Hunt by flying high above relatively shallow water to search for schooling fish. Once prey is spotted, Osprey will hover beating its wings, then quickly dive down and sink its talons into the water and into the fish.
  • Once in the air, the osprey will position the fish so it’s facing forward, allowing for it to be more aerodynamic for transport back to the nest.


  • Begin mating at 3 years old and usually keep the same mate for life
  • Return each year to the same area it was born
  • MARCH/APRIL- Courtship and nest building begins
  • APRIL/MAY-Eggs, 2-4, are laid between mid-April late May and incubated for approximately 40 days
  • JUNE-Nestlings are brooded and fed fish. They begin to resemble adults, but have orange eyes rather than yellow.
  • JULY-The young begin to fly approximately 55 days after hatching and stay with their families through July while they learn to fish.
  • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER-Birds begin to migrate south in late August early September.

Sources:Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Audubon Society of Rhode Island

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