Osprey are raptors that are found year-round in Florida. These graceful birds are found near open water that contains fish (including Panther Island!). These awesome anglers are able to hover above the water while searching for prey. Once located, they swoop quickly down to grab their prey out of the water with their powerful talons. One really cool adaptive trait they have is spines on the undersides of their toes. Can you guess why that would help an osprey hunt?? It helps them hold onto slippery fish! Osprey nests are bulky stick nests located on the tops of large trees (dead or alive) and manmade structures such as utility poles. These nests are often reused year after year.
Historically, the osprey was listed as endangered back in the 1950s; the pesticide DDT played a large role in the decline of these birds. However, in 1972 after large public outcry DDT was banned in the US. Osprey have made a successful comeback, and the osprey are not listed as an imperiled species in Florida.