Utah's wild animals
Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 14:54
Fish hawks nest on a tower at a residence near Deer Creek Reservoir
When flying in pursuit of a fish, osprey dive feet-first below the water surface, becoming completely submerged before vaulting into the air with the quarry in its talon. After their renowned plunge dive, ospreys fly off — holding the fish headfirst for optimized aerodynamics — to a favored perch to dine alone, or to the nest to share the meal with their chicks.
Because of their almost-exclusive fish diet, these birds of prey can be found near waterbodies around the world. In a state as dry as Utah, we're lucky to have man-made water sources that expand suitable osprey habitat for feeding and nesting.
Often times, like in the case of Heber Valley resident Larry Reid, human habitat and artificial nesting platforms are an aid to the osprey. Reid has gone to great lengths to design and build a nest tower on his property in hopes of attracting osprey. The structure was ready for use in the 2009 nesting season, but the area's fish hawks showed little interest in utilizing it; however, in 2010 and 2011, much to the delight of the Reid family, community and passersby, three chicks were raised.
In 2011, Mr. Reid began sharing the birds' antics on the web via remote camera. This allows anyone with internet access to catch a real-time glimpse of one or more close-to-home ospreys.
Last year the birds laid eggs in April and those eggs hatched toward the end of May. We expect a similar timeframe this year.
For more information on ospreys, download the fact sheet.