Osprey Skipping Behavior

Jordan Lake. Hard Luck osprey nest. Sometimes ospreys get their entire front – from beak to their feet pretty cruddy with the leftovers of fish. The best way the ospreys have found to scrub is to skip themselves – like a stone that you might skip across a pond. The motion of skipping and rubbing against the water acts like a very stiff brush and helps loosen up the debris. I get to see this action every couple of years at the lake. I see it more in the summer and I have to wonder if the heat and humidity in the air makes the fish leftovers stick tighter. This is the longest sequence I’ve ever been able to photograph and I am very happy to be sharing it with you. Enjoy!

osprey skipping


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  1. Interesting, Ellen! I’ve never really thought about how these birds clean themselves, and here’s the answer!….. Many thanks, Helen


    1. The osprey also bathes like other birds in the lake shallows but have apparently figured out how to get the sticky messes off with the skipping. Birds are always teaching me new things!!!

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