Friday, January 4, 2008

Florida Osprey

When we visited Florida in February of 2006 there were still a lot of areas that had not recovered from the devastation of hurricane Katrina. The Flamingo area of Everglades National Park was one of these areas. Flamingo is at the very southern tip of Florida. It consisted of a visitors center, lodge, restaurant and cabins all of which were damaged by Katrina. We decided to drive down to Flamingo, even though most of it was closed, to see what the damage was like. The birding spots that we had visited in the past were all destroyed or closed. We did find some Osprey who did not appear too affected by the damage.
Ospreys are an extremely migratory species. They are found all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica, and typically migrate long distances between their summer and winter grounds.

In North America, studies by the Raptor Center using satellite tracking show that birds in the western half of the continent tend to migrate down the west coast and winter in Mexico and Central America. Birds in the eastern part of the continent tend to follow the east coast south to Florida. Some of the birds stop there and winter in Florida while others cross the Caribbean and winter in places like Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic or they continue on to South America. Osprey in the central part of the continent either go straight south through Mexico and winter in Central or South America or they head east to Florida and follow the same path as the birds from the east coast.Osprey can be seen in Florida year round, although some people believe that some osprey who have a summer range in Florida might migrate to South America during the winter and their numbers are replaced by birds from further north, who are wintering in Florida.

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