Osprey return to their nest at Youngs Point

Osprey return to their nest at Youngs Point

Two Osprey in their nest at Young's Point - Ontario - Canada

In the spring of 2013, the Osprey had been sighted at Youngs Point, on the Trent-Severn Waterway at Lock 27, a small village just north of Peterborough, Ontario.  They had returned to their nesting grounds for the season.  On a trip up that way, Bob photographed and filmed the pair perched on their nest.

Trent Severn Waterway sign - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Lock 27 Trent Severn Waterway - -- Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Youngs Point is between Katchewanooka Lake to the south and Clear Lake to the north.

Lock 27 Trent Severn Waterway ---- Ontario - Canada

The waterway between the two lakes has a couple of different channels owing to the construction of the lock.  Here, we see the dam that was built across the original course of the briskly flowing waters.

hwy 27 bridge - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Looking west from the footbridge, we see where Highway 28 crosses the narrow channel at the north end of Lake Katchewanooka, just before it breaks into Clear Lake.  Young’s Point is beautifully located within close range of many large lakes.  This narrow section of the waterway next to the hamlet represents a very small percentage of the boundless waters in this region of Ontario.

Osprey nest on pole by bridge - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Two Osprey sit in nest on pole - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

It is there, next to the Highway 28 bridge, that we find the Osprey nest atop a utility pole.  The pair of osprey have chosen an ideal locale since they subsist almost entirely on fish.  With the surrounding area spotted with freshwater lakes, the osprey have a vast area wherein to hunt for prey.

Young's Point sign by bridge - Young's Point - Ontario - Canada

Two Osprey sitting in their hydro pole bird nest at Young's Point

The osprey seem quite at home in their nest despite its close proximity to the highway.

Osprey sits in nest in rain storm - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Osprey build a massive structure of sticks for their aerie, using and adding to it year after year.  Once the eggs are laid, the female osprey will rely on the size of the nest to help conserve heat during the incubation process.  On the rainy day that Bob observed this pair, they were constantly going to and coming from the nest.

osprey holds feet out front to land in nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

osprey lands in nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

You would think that the power lines would be an issue for the osprey, but they are very adept at maneuvering around them.  Osprey will build their nests at various heights, usually in isolated trees, dead or living, cliff pinnacles, artificial platforms, or even on the ground.

Two Osprey in nest on hydro pole --- Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Osprey usually mate for life, and the breeding season varies according to latitude as this species of bird is found around the world.  Now that it is spring here, in southern Ontario, the pair will begin the five-month period of partnership required to raise their young.

Osprey sits soaken wet in nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

With her mate having taken flight again, this osprey watched the area intently.  Her feathers were heavily dampened by the rain, making the slight crest on her head more pronounced.  Osprey are often mistaken for Bald Eagles, but the distinctive black eye stripes or dark mask across the eyes and reaching to the sides of the neck help in making definite identification.  That and the white underbellies of these fish eagles, as they are also known.

Osprey sits on tree limb - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Osprey looks back from nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Bob watched the other osprey where it sat in a distant tree, hoping to spot a fish for its next meal.  Osprey capture fish by making spectacular dives from the air and entering the water feet first.  They typically take suckers, perch and sunfish from freshwater lakes and rivers.

In this video, the Osprey is trying to sight a fish in the waters below.  Most birds cannot move their eyes, and so they must move their heads in order to change their field of vision.  That is why this Osprey is moving its head from side to side.

osprey returns to nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

osprey lifts wings over top of partner in nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

These photographs from Bob’s video footage help to illustrate how an osprey’s wings have a noticeable bend and black plumage at the wrist.  When in flight, the long slender wings are angled backward at the bend.

Great Blue Heron heading east --- Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Great Blue Heron in flight --- Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

As Bob was filming and observing the ospreys fishing, two Great Blue Herons cut across the sky above him and the osprey’s nest.

Osprey sits in tree - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

osprey dances in front of partner in nest - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Although Bob was unable to keep track of the Osprey that was sitting in the tree, he did, however, see it return to the nest clutching what looked like a fish in its claws.  Sharp horny outgrowths or spicules on the soles of the ospreys’ feet enable these raptors to get a secure grip on even the most slippery of fish.

Osprey feet and claws - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Osprey and owls are the only raptors with reversible outer toes that allow them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind.  This is particularly helpful when grabbing onto fish.

Two Osprey sit in nest on pole - Youngs Point - Ontario - Canada

Bob left the two ospreys settled together in their nest, knowing that they have a long job ahead of them.  The female will lay two to four eggs within a month, and then incubation of the eggs will take 5 weeks.  It is a long process.

4 comments

  • Wonderful pictures! We live in west end Peterborough beside LoggerHead Marsh and have had the opportunity this year to watch ospreys hunting over the marsh daily. What a show! They are catching something bright orange so I’m assuming it’s frogs. We use binoculars to watch them. Sometimes it will take it’s catch to a tall tree in the marsh and eat it, other times it will fly away with it. It’s a wonderful sight!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading our blog. We have been to the Peterborough area on many occasions but have never visited Loggerhead Marsh. It definitely sounds like a good spot for birdwatching!

  • These ospreys should be grateful that owls did not take their nest, while they were gone on their Mexican vacation.