Osprey, or fish hawk

The bird of prey diving into Finnish waters

A large bird, similar to seagull in its colouring, hovers above the shallow water near the shore. After a while, it pulls back its wings and plunges into the water with a loud splash. The osprey rises from the water, but has no prey. New attempt, the osprey’s gaze is glued to the fish swimming close to the surface and, immediately, the osprey plunges back into the water. Only at the last second its feet push forward and its sharp talons prepare for the attack. 

Water droplets fly everywhere as the osprey dives underwater for a moment, struggles with a fish, and then, finally, rises back into the air. From the water rises a silver-scaled bream, caught in the osprey’s claws. After catching such a handsome prey, the male bird rises higher and brings the bream straight to the nest where the hungry female and nestlings are waiting.

Since 2001, there have been over 30 ospreys in Finland equipped with satellite transmitters, through which the birds’ movements have been monitored in detail. The transmitters have also provided valuable information about the migration routes, rest stops, and wintering areas.

There are information and maps about these ospreys’ migration routes available on the website of the Finnish Museum of Natural History (www.luomus.fi/fi/satelliittisaakset).

The live broadcasts from the nests of few of the osprey families offer new research information about what kind of a fish diet ospreys eat and how they behave during nesting. The color ring of the adult bird's feet can be read on the visual recordings without disturbing the birds. The information on the ring tells the adult bird’s place of birth and might even tell something about the different stages of its life. This information is very important to the research. Following both the happy and the sad days of the osprey family via the osprey live online service is very interesting.

Photo: The satellite osprey Ilpo has carried a transmitter for six years and has provided valuable information about its movements.

Sääksisäätiö - Finnish Osprey Foundation

PL 71, 13211 Hämeenlinna, Finland
 +358 500 306904

Sääksikeskus - Osprey Center

Pohtiolammentie 64, 32670 Kangasala, Finland
 +358 40 528 3030