Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

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Feature Creatures


"The Dive Bomber"

Imagine this, you're 30 meters above the area you are observing. Prepared to do what only you and all your relatives can do. Suddenly, the moment comes. You tuck your limbs in close and aim yourself downward headfirst. You pick up speed during your dive, rushing through the air. At he last moment you move your bare feet into position in front of you.


Hitting the water, your feet quickly grab hold of the target, a fish. Lunch has been captured and you flap your wings to lift yourself from the water. You are an Osprey.

A bird of prey from the same order as falcons, the Osprey is well suited to being the only raptor to submerge itself into the water for food. It's nostrils can close to seal off the water from entering. Their feet have rough spiny scales, barbs, and a reversible toe for grabbing hold of its slimy prey. When it grabs hold of the fish, the fish's head is pointed forward to reduce air resistance while it flies away.

Indeed, the Osprey comes very well equipped for survival.

©2001 James McMonigle

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