The osprey is a bird that is in a class all its own. Literally, the osprey is the only member of the genus Pandion, which is the only genus in the family Pandionidae. So what makes the Osprey so unique? First off is the fact that they have the ability to rotate one of their toes so that they have two facing forward and two facing back. This adaptation helps them to catch fish, which is their main food source. Most species of owls have this ability but the osprey is the only diurnal raptor, active during the day, that has this unique ability. Their feet also have rough pads on the bottom which helps in grabbing slippery fish.
Even though the osprey is the only member of its family they are not so alone. Osprey can be found on every con tenant in the world except Antarctica. They are found near water where they hunt for fish, often diving up to two feet under the surface. In the Western Hemisphere Osprey breed primarily in northern sections of North America. The breeding range includes most of Canada, the northern United States, and the Pacific Northwest. These birds migrate south to central and South America for the winter, some traveling over 2500 miles each way. Populations in Florida and the Gulf Coast typically are year round residents.