Female Ospreys Have Flare!

Okay. At least this female Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is landing with flared wings and tail!

Female Osprey Landing on nestFemale Osprey Landing on nest – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 200mm, natural light, not baited

I photographed this female Osprey as she came in to land on her nest near the shoreline of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in north-eastern Utah, quite often when Ospreys land they flare their wings and fan their tails to create enough drag to slow them down. The nest is on a manmade platform near the water and there is plenty of fish in the reservoir to support this Osprey family.

Female Osprey in flightFemale Osprey in flight – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Prior to the image above the Osprey had been on the nest, she had been there for quite a long time and I believe she wanted to spread her wings so she lifted off and flew towards where I stood photographing her, I was zoomed all the way to 400mm. It looked like she might swing around even closer to me so I backed to zoom up to 200mm to hopefully fit her all in the frame. She tricked me though and flew right back to the nest which is why the top image is at 200mm, I wish I had left it fully zoomed out. Another time perhaps.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. They sure do Mia, I’m glad I get the chance to observe them on occasion, despite the fact that I live in a city. Awesome photos as usual!

  2. Very beautiful, I love Ospreys!

  3. what wonderful shots of the Ospreys. Thank you for sharing..

  4. Both are great images, regardles where you had your zoom set.

  5. Magnificent! I don’t know how you positioned yourself when you took the osprey landing. I found ospreys to be at such high altitudes that I was not able to shoot them at eye level the way you have done so here. Great catch!

    • Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your comment Maria. I was standing on a small bluff on the shireline of the reservior below the Osprey nest, for the photo where the female Osprey is flying she was flying towards me just after leaving the nest and had swooped down.

  6. Such beautiful images. Don’t be so hard on yourself taking bird images. You are phenomenal at it. I rarely even give it a try. Carol

  7. Magnificent photographs! She’s gorgeous!

  8. Great catch, Mia!

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