Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Up and Out
It just occurred to me that I have never seen an osprey simply float on the water like a duck or even a seagull will. They get in and they get out with or without a fish. They don't tarry. This series of photos illustrates how they emerge from the water. They aren't always successful in catching a fish, but they usually try to keep their wings out of the water so they don't become waterlogged.
The first flap of their wings gives them enough lift to almost clear the water but no speed to keep them airborne.
The next flap or two are probably the most important for getting back into the air and they are a more specialized wing beat that I have only seen when they leave the water. Canada geese also use this technique. Note how the wings are extended completely forward (horizontal) instead of trying to flap vertically.
There is not enough room to flap their wings normally (vertically) and they have to scoop the air in front of them until they gain enough speed and elevation to change to normal wing movements. In this last photo you can see the wings are at more of a vertical angle and by the next flap, they will be back to flying normally.