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Observations & Images
21 December 2006

A disturbing sight on Birds Impoundment Trail where Alice Rowe and I find the remains of an Osprey.
Though heavily scavenged, the condition of the remains looked like the bird had died only recently.
Unfortunately, we could not determine the cause of death.
Another strange find, though not pictured, was the skull of a Heron amidst the Osprey remains.
Ospreys have been scarcely seen around the Refuge lately. Nesting pairs have already been seen on at least four nests between Vero Beach and Titusville though none have been seen around the Refuge nests yet.
The noted explorer William Bartram traveled through what would become the southern United States, including extensively through Florida, between 1773-1778. His book, Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida et al., contains this interesting account of both the Bald Eagle and the "fishing-hawk" as he calls the Osprey.

"The bald eagle is likewise a large, strong, and very active bird, but an execrable tyrant:  he supports his assumed dignity and grandeur by rapine and violence, extorting unreasonable tribute and subsidy from all the feathered nations."

"The last of this race I shall mention is the falco-piscatorius, or fishing-hawk:  this is a large bird, of high and rapid flight; his wings are very long and pointed, and he spreads a vast sail, in proportion to the volume of his body.  This princely bird subsists entirely on fish which he takes himself, scorning to live and grow fat on the dear-earned labours of another; he also contributes liberally to the support of the bald eagle." Even then it was seen that the Eagle will harass Osprey to drop their catch which the Eagle will then scoop up as its own.

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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org