Birds of the Marsh – Osprey Nest


Did you ever see an Osprey? They are pretty widespread and summer in our area.

Osprey are odd-looking hawks that build these strange-looking stick nests. Look at those big bug eyes too. I have been to three bird preserves/wetlands in the last week and two of them have nesting Osprey.


This bird is off to the hunt, which unfortunately, is in that direction. So I don’t have front views.


Osprey are also known for the odd kink in their wings as shown below. When hunting, they dive for fish with the legs and feet outstretched and the glowing yellow eyes sight along their talons. I did not get a photo of this because they hunt far out in the marsh, further than my lens could scope.


They scan the marsh and make a rather quick dive to get fish.  Had I been out by boat, maybe I would have been close enough to capture the hunt.


Osprey with kill at Tifft Nature Preserve


Above are the parents. One stayed at the nest, while the other went on the hunt. I have been to the preserve at Tifft a few times, but have yet to spot the chicks. The family above is at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.


The refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, serves primarily as a nesting, feeding, resting and staging area for migratory waterfowl. Summer is the slow season, but some birds can be found breeding in the marshes at the Refuge.


Osprey on nest at Tifft Nature Preserve.

The waterways are filled with grasses and reeds, but unlike Tifft, Iroquois has cleaner (without duckweed and algae) open water.

My posts on wetlands this year highlighted those habitats and the importance to many life forms. With dry summers and water extracted for irrigation the world over, many wetlands are drying up.

If you want to learn more about the Osprey, go to All About Birds, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I just reported on what I observed at two local preserves.

Osprey-5IWRA lot of wildlife is at the Refuge. This little fawn was one of twins. It was less scared of me than either its sibling or mother.


More birds of the marsh are coming up. Some even with front views! I am visiting a Canadian marsh on Sunday with the Buffalo Ornithological Society to see the shorebirds migration. I should see birds I have yet to post, plus I will be getting them named correctly hopefully.

Don’t miss the giveaway on How I Get My Photos in Yucky Light. No correct guesses yet and a random draw will get the prize. Just leave a comment on that post to be a part.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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42 Responses to Birds of the Marsh – Osprey Nest

  1. What a magnificent bird and great photographs. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great website and they even had the webcam on an Osprey nest hatching recently.

    • I love their webcams and get addicted to the action. One was an eagle’s nest and a Red-tailed hawk came to steal her nestlings. A huge fight ensued between the mother and the hawk. It was very sad to see, but an amazing capture. The hawk was killed and fed to the young. I can not imagine hunger being so overpowering that the hawk risked everything.

  2. I saw an osprey one time in the wild while we were vacationing in North Carolina. It was further inland than their normal range. They are incredibly impressive birds. Are these refuge open to the public or did you go on a tour with a group? Very nice captures!

    • Karin, they are all open to the public. They often have leaning sessions for groups and school kids. The demonstrations and talks are mostly on the weekends, and I try to go mid week to avoid the crowds. Many people means few birds in close enough to photograph.

  3. I didn’t know there are osprey at Tifft Farm. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. They are magnificent birds, breath taking beauty and elegance. What stunning photos too, I love that ramshackle nest, its hard to believe its strong enough to hold them and the chicks. These are such rare birds in the UK, what a special moment to see these birds. I hope you get chance to go back and see the chicks? x

    • I am not sure when they fledge. I just started attending birding functions and going on their bird walks, so I will find this out from them. The nests are at such great distance that it would be hard to see the babies anyway. I have seen them last year poke their heads out, but that is an impossible photo to get that far away for me. I need a longer and sharper lens I think, but they at crazy costly.

  5. As you know, we have lots of osprey in Maine. You got some great shots. It is so funny how they nest out in the open and aren’t bothered by people. Remember the nest in the middle of the Handy Boat anchorage with boats zipping all around.

  6. nice photos. Osprey are funny looking birds, they always look like someone just woke them up!

  7. amanda2600 says:

    the birds eyes!!! those eyes…. they look like they are bigger than his body… that’s a hawk right??? those eyes remind me of a cat or something!!! its really cute and funny!! but the best picture is the deer… its so cute!! one of my goats looks like a deer and sort of acts like one…now one of her daughters does……and guess what her name is Bambi Jane it is so cute and she has a deer name

  8. Phil Lanoue says:

    Always great seeing these amazing birds! I love the face of the guy in the first photo!

  9. That is an exciting bird! I didn’t realize there were ospreys in upstate NY.

  10. I’ve never seen an Osprey. Such a beautiful bird!
    Happy Thursday, Donna! 🙂

  11. debsgarden says:

    We don’t have Osprey here. I will never forget one I saw when I visited my son in Portland. The nest was perched high atop a pole in a construction site beside the Willamette River. The birds seemed unbothered by the bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

    • The one nest above is beside a road. I was not supposed to stop my Jeep and an officer pulled up. It is posted and I was stopped just past the sign. He let me take all the photos I wanted and said nothing about me being parked. What a nice guy.

  12. Stephi says:

    Lots of Osprey nesting on Kiawah Island, SC where we vacation. There is even a nesting pair right on the first tee of one their golf courses. What a racket they make! Ferris State University in MI also has an osprey cam I watch every year. Fascinating to watch.

  13. What a great opportunity! I’ve seen ospreys, but not up that close. You got some great shots!

    • Thank you. i wish I was closer for them. The I did not approach the nest on the tower at the road because the birds would leave and since it is a refuge, wildlife officers are always patrolling. The one at Tifft was across a huge lake and really high in the air. It looks like I was closer, but was not.

  14. lulu says:

    What great photos you got of the osprey in and out of the nest. There is a nest across the harbor from me, and I delight in watching as the little ones hatch and eventually fly away. I often kayak over to get a closer look, and I can tell you the parents are very protective! Thanks for your visit, too.

    • I am a bit wary of boats of most kind, and there is a canoe ride I could sign up for at a nominal cost. I am just too scared for dropping me and my camera in the marsh. I would believe as hawks, they would be on the defensive. I am so far away, no need for me to worry though.

  15. A.M.B. says:

    Great pictures! I’ve never seen an osprey in the wild. They are very interesting looking birds.

  16. We have ospreys nearby nesting at the lake or swamp since they fly over in groups and I love hearing them call and fly so high. Fabulous shots. I do not get to see them up close.

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