This parent osprey and his/her brood of two are keeping watch over the northern side of the house these days. When not eating fish, the three line up and watch us earth-bound creatures as we move around in the sand.
Getting a bead on us in their sharp eyesight, they all three perform a sassy head-slide, as if saying, "Oh no you dint-ent!"
They make a LOT of noise: they are the avian version of SNL's Loud family. (An obscure sketch that was too annoying to continue...)
The scientific name is Pandion haliaetus, after Athenian king Pandion whose daughters were turned into birds after an unfortunate domestic-violence-rape-and-cannibalism incident. After that bit of flair, it's a bit of a let-down to find out that "haliaetus" means "eagle." The osprey is supposedly also known as a fish-eagle. Not that I have ever heard them called so.
The osprey (along with most of our North American birds of prey) nearly died out in the 1960's and 1970's, as the pesticide DDT in the food chain led to fatally thin eggshells. It's been a pleasure to watch the numbers bounce back. 22 ospreys on the the light fixtures on the 3-mile-long Howard Frankland Bridge the other day. Thank you Rachel Carson and Silent Spring!
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