The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), also called the fish hawk!

Osprey are large birds, with wingspans up to six feet! They dive into rivers to grab fish in their powerful talons, turning the fish so that they face forward and can fly away with them more easily. 

Look for evidence

Osprey like to build their nests up high in tall trees, and sometimes on platforms you may see on top of telephone poles. Can you spot a nest high up at Jordan Homestead? When driving near the water, take a look at the top of telephone poles. In spring and summer you may even see the osprey in their nests, or hear them call “cheep cheep”!

Why is it important to protect rivers?

Rivers like the Union River provide a specific kind of home for fish and other aquatic species. They use the shallow waters for laying eggs, and having a safe place away from predators, and the opportunity to feed on bugs and flies that hatch in a stream environment. Rivers also provide a way for land-based animals to move across the landscape—frequently the shores of rivers and streams serve as ‘wildlife highways’ because they are gentle-sloped lands easy to traverse, with abundant plants that are good to eat (like berries!). For humans, it’s important to protect rivers because the water that flows here also goes below ground, and serves to replenish our drinking water “aquifers.”

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