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Pure Predation

Greetings all,

Well, to a point I was wrong about Ospreys being pure predators. However, the fact remains that these birds of prey will not take carrion. That makes these birds much more a predator than most other known flesh eaters.

The following is a quote in response to my own research:

"Dear Roger,

This is in reply to your e-mail regarding ospreys. I have enclosed all of the information that we have regarding ospreys. According to our endangered species specalist, from " Life Histories of North American Birds of Prey" by Arthur Cleveland Bent. Ospreys are clean predators and prefer living fish but are not above picking up a dead fish if still fresh. However, it is not a carrion feeder and will not touch a tainted fish like an eagle.

If you have any further questions please contact us.

Sincerely, Sandra J. Myers
Wild resource Conservation Fund
Harrisburg, PA"

I was told by Oregon wildlife biologist, while we watched a successfull strike at a trout hatchery on the Mackenzie river, that Osprey will not take freshly dead fish at their facility. Of course this is hearsay evidence and useless. Since this may be a localized preference of the Osprey population in a target rich environment, ie near a hatchery, the over-generalized assumption I jumped to was therefore wrong.

However I think we can come to the understanding that if there are no other options available an Osprey will take a freshly dead fish. However this fish must not be in any way decomposed, and even when face with starvation an osprey will refuse such rotten food.
Roger A. Stephenson
Assistant Director
The Grand River Museum
Lemmon, South Dakota
"Put the bunny, back in the box!"