If you are an osprey, the answer is a resounding “yes”.
The more accurate question would be: Raw fish for breakfast? To which the osprey’s response would be an emphatic “of course, it’s the only way I eat my fish.”
Sushi on an empty stomach may not for the tender-hearted, but it is the norm for the long-winged “sea or fish eagles.” Carry-out is only acceptable if the food comes straight out of the water. No storage on ice or in refrigerated railroad cars—the freshest sushi alone will do. Besides, the fish has to be carried head-forward in the talons before it’s eaten.
This isn’t mere choosiness on the osprey’s part, as having the future meal thus aligned reduces wind resistance. If you have ever watched an osprey dive talons first into the water, you might have noticed that there is a lag time before it takes off again. During those few seconds, the bird needs to shake off enough heavy water from its waterproofed feathers to be able to become airborne once again, so anything that reduces energy expenditure is expedient, including the alignment of its prey.
Ospreys are remarkable raptors with interesting names. The common name traces its origin to the medieval Latin avis prede (bird of prey); alternatively, the name might be derived from ossifragus, meaning bone breaker (Latin os, bone and frangere, to break). Their scientific name, Pandion haliaetus, is composed of an obscure reference to Pandion, one of the kings of Athens whose daughters were turned into birds, and haelietus, from the Greek hals for sea, and aetus for eagle. There is a problem with calling an osprey a sea eagle, though, because several other raptors’ common names include Sea Eagle in combination with another descriptor. This naming business is complicated!
My encounters with ospreys occur mainly during spring and fall migration, but if you would like to learn more about the complex lives of these elegant fliers and divers, as well as their exclusive piscivorousness, check out Donna’s blog at Bay Photos By Donna (https://bayphotosbydonna.com). Not only has she observed ospreys mate, lay eggs, hatch, raise (or lose) their young, she has documented every step along the way with fabulous photos of much better quality than mine.
The following is not an excuse, but an explanation. My nearly 11-year-old Canon PowerShot SX30 IS camera has died several deaths only to resurrect itself miraculously. But it is arthritic, rickety, and very moody and at times not willing to get out of bed in the morning. When it does, it lets me know its dissatisfaction by squeaking, groaning, and moaning when I try to coax the lens to wake up. If it takes photos at all, they usually need significant editing, but even then turn out less than satisfactory, as is the case with my osprey images.
In other words, my camera has told me more than once that it’s ready to retire. And while I’m way past ready to let it, I’m completely intimidated by the prospect of acquiring a new one. I would love to try a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, but the price is as much a deterrent as are my rudimentary technical understanding of photography and the doubt in my ability to learn a new trick. But I would delight in being able to capture close-up details of flowers, of birds-in-flight, and of anything in between—like Donna and so many other wonderful fellow bloggers and photographers. I think I’m asking you photographers for advice. Should I replace my moribund specimen with another advanced zoom camera, or should I make the leap into true photography, where I will have to do more than turn on the camera and push the button?