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First record of Osprey taking blue crab

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Old Friday 19th November 2010, 03:59   #1
Mark B Bartosik
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First record of Osprey taking blue crab

Practically Ospreys feed exclusively on fishes but there are a few recorded cases when Ospreys hunted, ate or possibly took nonfish prey perhaps to decorate their nest. These records include birds, snakes, voles, squirrels, muskrats, salamanders, a small alligator and even conchs which Ospreys opened (and ate) by dropping them onto a concrete-filled steel drum.

I am not aware of any published (or not published) record of Ospreys hunting crabs. Please sent me a note if you know about any record of Osprey taking this kind of prey.

Poole et al. (2002) speculated that some of these reports include nonfish taken in water and Ospreys were probably using typical foraging techniques (e.g., alligator, muskrat) emphasizing the generalist nature of Osprey predation while hunting over water. In my observed case the Osprey used completely different technique of approach and strike the crab compare to techniques Ospreys are using when hunting fish. I am still in process of checking published literature and working on describing this event. Hopefully I will finish soon and will be able to present the results. As here we deal with juvenile Osprey on wintering grounds there is no possibility of taking crab to the nest.

Here is a photo taken right after Osprey took off from the water with crab in talons

http://www.pbase.com/mbb/image/130453676

And here note how the bird was watching the crab when manipulating the prey in talons

http://www.pbase.com/mbb/image/130453681

A few more photos can be check here:

http://www.pbase.com/mbb/osprey_taking_blue_crab


Hope some will enjoy to see these photos

All the best,

Mark
http://www.pbase.com/mbb/life_on_the_osprey_time
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Old Friday 19th November 2010, 15:36   #2
goodbirdie
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Mark, I am just in awe! Incredibly beautiful pictures! Just out of curiosity, how many "bad" pictures do you take to get the one "good" one? I can't imagine the patience, dedication and passion it takes to get such fabulous images. thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Old Friday 19th November 2010, 15:51   #3
deborah4
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Did you see the response you got on surfbirds?

http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail...s_Birds/815402

Great photos - re. above, I was in the process of googling 'swimming crabs' as I was wondering how crab (bottom crawlers?) can be prey to Osprey and discovered the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus in fact translates as "beautiful, savory swimmer." http://research.myfwc.com/support/view_faqs.asp?id=22 (apparently we have three species of swimming crabs in the UK (http://www.glaucus.org.uk/CRABS.htm)
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Old Friday 19th November 2010, 23:24   #4
Mark B Bartosik
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Thanks for your comments. Goodbirdie: dependent on what is definition of bad photo; to me an interesting photo is more important than ‘bird on the stick’ etc - you can have many of those. I am a few years behind (no I am not kidding - I wish I do) with processing many photos I plan to check/use. The problem is that with practice and modern equipment we take too many ‘good’ photos. By good I mean useful for the purpose we took them. Deborah - yes this poster send his replay directly. Interesting stuff. But thank you for checking with me.

All the best

Mark
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Old Sunday 21st November 2010, 07:51   #5
Tiger_mz
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Those photos are great Mark. When were they taken?

Also I am not sure it would be a good idea to take a crab back to an osprey nest. I wonder how an osprey would get on with eating a crab?
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Old Monday 22nd November 2010, 03:16   #6
Mark B Bartosik
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Tiger - photos were taken a few days ago. Well, Osprey bill can do wonders - try to work with fish skin and you will find out that what seems to be easy task for this bird can be quite hard job to accomplish.
http://www.pbase.com/mbb/image/109184317


All the best,

Mark
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Old Monday 22nd November 2010, 12:14   #7
lashinala
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Mark,
just a reminder of the osprey email message I sent you last year-- a musk turtle in Guntersville, Alabama.
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