Confessions of a Rookie Birder: Birds of the air and fish of the sea

Ospreys spend much of their time in the sky. (Photo by Craig Taylor)

Psalm 8 may be one of the most beautifully written acknowledgements of God’s creation and our place in it. In the psalm, the psalmist described man’s place over all creation, even over the “birds of the air and fish of the sea” (v. 8). It’s a poignant reminder of how we are connected to God’s world.

I thought of those words while watching the Osprey fish at West Point Lake. I might not have been as interested if an Osprey hadn’t flown just off our campsite with a fish in its talons. It got my attention even though my camera was once again not nearby. It was an amazing sight.

West Point Lake has at least 23 pairs of Osprey in residence. Twenty-one pairs nest there every year on nesting platforms the Army Corps of Engineers have provided for them. Two more pairs have built their own nests on power poles near the dam. All the other nesting platforms were taken.

An Osprey gliding above the water, looking for fish below. (Photo by Craig Taylor)

Watching the Ospreys soar above the water is fascinating. They circle, watching for fish below. Unbelievably, Ospreys can see small fish below the surface from well above them. They dive for the fish feet first, grasping the fish swimming in relatively shallow water with their talons. Size-wise, Ospreys are a little smaller that the Bald Eagle, with a wing span stretching longer than five feet in flight.

When they’re not fishing, Ospreys tend to sit high in trees where they can look over the land. And look they do. We watched one who continually turned his head side to side and almost all the way around for over an hour. While we weren’t sure what he was doing, he was definitely on-guard.

This Osprey is perched on a dead tree limb, watching and waiting. (Photo by Craig Taylor)

The Ospreys pulled us in and held our attention for hours. They are formidable fishers. They are strong birds, sometimes referred to as Fish Eagles. They are totally in control of their surroundings.

And God made us lord over the works of His hands and He put everything He created under our feet (Ps. 8:6). Oh, Lord, how truly magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email