What is a Pandion?
We take our name from the Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, a bird that uses its strength, resilience, and adaptability to live successfully in the balance between the human and natural worlds.
The Osprey: A Symbol of Balance
The Osprey is a species found throughout the world in both natural and human environments. It possesses clarity of vision that is far-reaching. It is a symbol of balance between air, water, and land.
Osprey are sometimes called Fish Hawks, since most of their diet is fish. You may have seen this bird hunting or flying overhead with a fish in its talons.
When hunting, an Osprey hovers patiently over water until a fish has been sighted. Then it folds up and dives, head first, with its wings swept back behind the tail.
Just before hitting water, the Osprey throws its feet forward, sometimes completely submerging as it catches its prey. Using both feet, the Osprey usually holds the fish with the head pointed forward to prevent drag as it carries it back to a perch or nest.
Occasionally, a Bald Eagle will harass an Osprey to make it drop the fish, which the Eagle then swoops down to catch before the fish reaches the water.
- Size: Fairly large, intermediate in size between buzzards and eagles, 22 to 25 inches.
- Nesting: Large stick nests typically built in dead trees, but also built on artificial platforms and manmade structures.
- Breeding: Typically lays 3 eggs; female incubates the eggs for ~39 days; young fledge at 49 to 59 days old.
- Range: Breeds from Alaska to Canada, south to Baja California, Sonoran coast, and Gulf States.
- Florida Status: Rare to fairly common breeding bird in Florida, varying in numbers according to local conditions.
- Habitat: Frequents lakes, rivers, and coastal areas; when suitable nest sites are unavailable near water, it may nest inland.
- Foraging: Hunts by observation from a perch, when flying, or by hovering as high as 200 feet over water; diet is almost entirely fish.
- Voice: Quite vocal, especially during the nesting season.
- Dunne, Sibley, and Sutton 1988. Hawks in Flight. p158.
- Farrand, Jr (ed) 1983. The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding. p216.
- Stevenson and Anderson 1994. The Birdlife of Florida. p146.
- Toland [accessed 2005]. FWCC Florida Breeding Bird Atlas [Internet].