Follow the Trent University Osprey Cam
There is a fascinating local bird cam at Trent University. It follows a pair of Osprey as they raise their two chicks. Watch mama Osprey guard the chicks and keep them warm, as papa arrives periodically with food for the family. As you watch the nest, here is some info about these spectacular birds:
The Osprey is a large bird of prey with a wingspan just under two metres. They are also known as ‘fish hawks,’ as they live on a diet of fish. Although osprey populations declined drastically in the 1950s and 1960s because of pesticides, they have recovered since the ban on DDT, and are now abundant in areas around water, including the Kawartha Lakes region.
In the air, ospreys make a unique shape with their wings, looking like a flying ‘M’. This is because they bend their wings in the middle when they soar. They fly high above the water looking for fish with their keen eyesight. When an Osprey spots a fish close to the surface, the bird takes a dramatic dive, pulling in its wings, and extending its feet to grasp the fish as it enters the water.
Osprey often make short shrill whistles when flying, which draw your attention to look high overhead to see this beautiful bird. They have a dark brown back and white belly, with a white head and throat and dark mask through the eyes. Their hooked beak helps to tear apart their food.
The Osprey was featured on the Canadian $10 bill for many years.
Osprey Nesting Habits
Osprey build large nests of twigs high in the air, on top of a broken tree or hydro pole. People have helped ospreys recover by building nesting platforms, which nesting pairs of adults will often use for many years. Each year, more twigs are added, so nests can become very large!
The female Osprey lays 1-4 spotted eggs in spring, which she incubates for more than a month. When the eggs hatch, the young birds are covered in down, but helpless and only capable of limited motion. The female stays with the young birds for the first month, relying on the male to provide food for the family during incubation and while the babies are young. After the first month, both the male and female hunt for fish to feed the family. The young birds stay in the nest for almost two months, and then must learn to fish on their own.
Osprey migrate to spend the winter in the southern U.S., Mexico and Central America, close to water where they can continue to fish. This year’s babies usually stay in the south until they are three years old, when they return north to find a mate and new nest to start the next generation of these magnificent birds.
For more information, check out these websites:
Make your own bird's nest with this creative craft
This hands-on bird nest project will help kids develop their creative and analytical thinking and engage with Nature. Don’t forget to learn about the plants and animals you might see while collecting loose parts for this crafty creation.
- Start with a paper plate
- Go outside and collect sticks, leaves, moss, grass, mud, and other items for your nest
- Use sticks to create the outside of the nest, winding them together
- Then add moss and smaller stick and leaves on the inside
- Paint some eggs to go inside or create some from fabrics like wool
Osprey Eco Activity
- Click the above link to print out and colour the fact-catcher.
- Cut around the outside of the square.
- Flip the page over so the words and pictures face down.
- Fold the paper diagonally in both directions, then unfold.
- Using the lines as a guide, fold each corner of the paper toward the center.
- Turn the paper over so the folded sides are face down.
- Again, fold all the corners to the center.
- Fold it in half, top to bottom, and then unfold.
- Fold it in half again, left to right, and unfold.
- Using your thumb and forefingers in the flap pockets, squeeze all four sides towards each other.
Read 'Ollie the Long Island Osprey'
In this read-aloud of ‘Ollie the Long Island Osprey’, written by Karen Lieblein. Join Ollie, the Long Island Osprey, in his adventures as a “fish hawk,” and he’ll take you soaring high up in the sky and then plunging into Hallock’s and Peconic Bays for fish. All the while, you’ll learn true and amazing facts, as he does, about how ospreys: nest, grow, dive, fish, and migrate thousands of miles each year between Long Island and South America.
This page supports the following Landmarks
Did you explore outdoors, create a bird’s nest, or read-a-long with “Bird Builds a Nest’? If so, it’s likely you completed one of the following Landmark activities:
Landmark 1 – Explore Outdoors Together
Landmark 7 – Share a nature-based book
Landmark 8 – Create at least one nature-based art project
Landmark 12 – Meet the friends in your neighbourhood (trees, flowers, mammals, insects, birds)