I was driving the Southern Scenic Expressway in Pennsylvania and was thrilled to see signs for a Seneca Reservation listed alongside signs for Allegheny National Forest. I hopped off the first exit and drove down to the dam to walk around. More on this later — on my way out of the park as the sun was setting I notice a large bird swoop down into a nest the size of my sunroof perched high up on a utility pole — from about a mile away.
I had never seen an osprey in person before the massive nest beside the road captured my attention & after about a half hour of sitting and observing I think they’re pretty rad. This pair was living atop a power pole that National Grid had modified to allow safe nest building.
Ospreys go by various similar names depending on where they’re found. Sea Hawk, River Hawk and Fish Hawk – obviously these guys like the water. They are adept at catching fish due to their unique characteristics (hooked wings, short tail, large talons, REVERSIBLE OUTTER TOES ((wow!)) and close-able nostrils. It’s so unique that it gets its own genus — Pandion.
Also; Pliny the Elder purported that ospreys made their young fly up to the sun as a test, and simply killed any that failed.
One true thing about Ospreys is that the represent a clean and healthy watershed.
If you’re sort of a nerd for birds (read: living dinosaurs) like myself, the Allegheny National Forest has multiple bird watching spots and tips on where to see them casually as I did this pair. For more information:
Now, there are a few things I learned while visiting the park that I feel gross about. I’ll be putting up a separate post discussing these.