The Osprey, or “fish hawk,” is a powerful large bird with a wingspan sometimes reaching six feet. Its threatening physical size and sharp talons contrast with its almost ridiculously timid “cheep, cheep” chirping voice. It can be found across the state from the northern lakes and rivers to coastal islands.
As are other hawks, the Osprey is a “raptor,” that is, a bird that eats other animals. Cooper’s Hawk is another raptor familiar to Maine.
True to its name, the bird dines exclusively on fish, swooping down and plucking them from the water when they near the surface. According to Audubon’s Bull and Farrand, “The soles of Ospreys’ feet are equipped with sharp, spiny projections that give the bird a firm grip on its slippery prey.”
Bull, John and John Farrand, Jr. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. 1977 and various years.