Male Osprey in flight with prey at Flaming Gorge ReservoirMale Osprey in flight with prey at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Utah – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Three days ago a first of the year sighting from the UBIRD group got me all excited because it means that the Ospreys have returned to Utah! North American Ospreys winter in Central and South American and southern sections of California and Florida and are found on every continent except Antarctica. Personally I have seen Ospreys as far south as the Caribbean and as far north as Alaska. In Virginia they arrived about mid-March and their arrival always seemed to coincide with the return of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (a double delight) and when I lived in the Tampa Bay Area they were year round residents.

Here in Utah Ospreys nest at many of the freshwater lakes and reservoirs including the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Daggett County and now that I know they have arrived I will be listening for their calls. There is a pond near where I live that Ospreys visit at times and if I have my windows open there is a possibility of hearing them as they fly overhead.

Female Osprey in a defensive posture at Honeymoon Island State ParkFemale Osprey in a defensive posture at Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 300mm, natural light, not baited

I love hearing the call of Ospreys, watching them dive for fish, seeing them soar high overhead, mate, rear young and in flight with prey. I love the striking contrast of their light and dark plumage, their yellow eyes and huge talons. There really isn’t any thing I don’t love about them.

I think I was spoiled in Florida because I saw and heard them year round but here in Utah I eagerly look forward to their return in the spring and when I spot my first of the year Osprey I find it hard to contain myself. I can barely wait until I see my first Osprey of 2014!


Osprey are also called Sea Hawks, Fish Eagles, River Hawks and Fish Hawks.