Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Osprey — Water Connection, page 2

• The osprey’s unique talons each have four toes, equal in length, that form a cross-shape or “net of talons” when outstretched. The claws are rounded, pointing downward, and the outer toe is reversible and double-jointed, enabling a pincer-like grasp from front and rear.
• The soles of an osprey’s feet are equipped with special barbed pads that help grip slippery fish.
• The osprey’s nostrils are equipped with valves that close to prevent water from entering when the bird is immersed.
• When an osprey takes a large fish to its nest, it carries the fish headfirst through the air to make the flight home as aerodynamic and energy-efficient as possible.
• Shakespeare referred to the fishing prowess of the osprey in Coriolanus: “As is the osprey to the fish who takes it by sovereignty of nature.”