Right on the beach on Sanibel Island I came upon this huge nest.
Soon as I zoomed in, I could make out an awesome osprey family. What amazing big nests they build! I just love the intense hawk gaze of these magnificent birds. These raptors have keen eyes and very sharp talons for hunting.
We watched this one fighting off other birds for that huge and heavy supper he had caught. That went on for awhile and was quite entertaining.
I couldn't believe the size of that fish in comparison to the bird's body! He was panting and gasping....he settled in on top of that tall pole and rested and recovered for a good long while. I so enjoyed this scene of nature played out right in front of me, and felt very blessed to be able to photograph it.
This amazing bird was working hard to bring home a huge fish dinner to his family. The term "raptor" means 'to seize, or take by force'. He definitely went after that large fish, to seize it!
I didn't think too much about the birds of prey until a few years ago I read "Skyward" by Mary Alice Monroe.
I learned so much about these intriguing birds in her book. Ever since, I've always had my eye on the sky when we are out and about in the maritime forest areas, tidal creeks and inlets, walking along the coastline, and wildlife refuge areas in South Carolina, and elsewhere.
With almost HALF THE LAND on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, where we just vacationed, being designated wildlife refuges,we were happy to see so much wildlife being just that.....wild.
Husband loves the majestic eagles while I am particularly intrigued by the raptor birds such as the red tailed hawks, owls, falcons, and the osprey pictured. Did you know the osprey hunts by diving feet first into the ocean to catch their fish? I thought that was pretty neat! Sometimes they will disappear completely underneath the ocean water to grab their prey. I learned that the osprey exist almost 100% on a diet of live fish.
The raptors on Sanibel appeared very healthy and well fed!