Occurring on every continent except Antarctica, the osprey
is the one of the most widespread birds of prey. The osprey is also called the 'fish hawk', as it is well adapted for hunting fish. There are four subspecies of the osprey, each occupying a different part of its overall range and differing slightly in size and appearance. The combined range of the four osprey subspecies is colossal. Pandion haliaetus
breeds in Europe, Asia and north Africa and winters in South Africa, India and southeast Asia; P. h. carolinensis
breeds in North America and the Caribbean and winters in Florida, the Caribbean and South America; P. h. cristatus
is a year round resident of coastal Australia and the southwest Pacific; and P. h. ridgwayi
inhabits the Caribbean, from Cuba and the Bahamas to southeast Mexico and Belize. On average, while not necessarily longer, female ospreys are 20% heavier than males and have a wingspan that is 5 to 10% greater. Ospreys are a relatively long-lived bird species. The oldest known osprey in North America was a 25-year old male. The oldest known female was 23 years old. However, very few individuals live to this age. —arkive.org
; animaldiversity.org Osprey pairs here on Long Island on average return for breeding to the same nest. There is a bit of competition for the nest in early spring and occasionally a new pair will take over a nest. But in general the resident pair keep their home from the previous year. I did see a very unusual behavior for ospreys this past spring. Or should I say very late spring. It was early June. By this time some ospreys might be dealing with fledglings. Images 18-29 show what was going on. There were 3 pairs of ospreys fiercely fighting for this nest. Flying around the nest looking for an opportunity to land and claim it. But another osprey would dive down on the occupant and chase it away. A lot of vocalising and some unusual flying positions during this fight. The unbelievable thing is that this went on for at least couple of hours. I couldn't stay any longer. Not sure how long before and after. There were periods when all 3 pairs took a break due to pure exhaustion. But 5-10 minutes later the fight would start all over again. Very hard to explain because by this time of year they would have long ago established a nest. A mystery to me.