Osprey break tradition, dive head-first into water for prey

- Ospreys are familiar birds of prey in Florida. They can often be seen on treetops and near waterways where fish are plentiful. 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), ospreys feed by flying over water and diving feet-first to grab fish with their talons. 

That's why FOX 13 Photojournalist Larry Towe was surprised when he spotted two ospreys diving, head first into the water off Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. 

Towe was recording video of dolphins when an osprey dove into the water between his camera lens and the ocean mammals.

At first, he thought it was the typical behavior of a pelican diving for its prey, but as he zoomed he realized there were two ospreys circling above their intended meals. 

The birds took turns diving into the water, coming up empty-handed each time. When they emerged from the bay, they shook off the water as if they realized the mistake they made trying to imitate other fishing birds' behavior. 

Their mid-air shakes were similar to that of a freshly-bathed dog.

According to the FWC, osprey’s eat different species of fish including scat fish, mullet, spotted trout, shad, crappie, and sunfish. 

Feeding areas include most open-water habitats along the coast, like the bay, and freshwater lakes and rivers.

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