It’s one of nature’s greatest shows: The Osprey dives from hundreds of feet in the air, slowly brings it talons forward, splashes into the water, grabs a fish and then hoists itself back into the air and flies away.
It’s such a compelling performance that a small crowd stood on the banks of the Potomac in Northern Virginia the other day to watch when an Osprey began circling late in the afternoon around dinnertime.
I’ve been following Ospreys all over the country, fascinated by their fishing prowess that has an impressive success rate averaging about 50 percent per dive, a series of studies says. They are built to catch fish, and live almost entirely off the two or three they snag each day. They are acrobatic flyers with a wingspan of up to 6 feet on lithe bodies of just 3 or 4 pounds. Their oversized talons, which lock into place when fishing, have powerful grips. Their eyes are loaded with sensors that help them to see 6 to 8 times better than humans.
But this is the story of one fish that got away.