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Unusual (?) Osprey display. (1 Viewer)

RecoveringScot

Well-known member
A video from 16/04/21 of one of the Ospreys at Urdaibai Bird Center apparently displaying to the other of the pair by a 'trailing legs in the water display'. Not something I've heard of or seen before (though I am not an Osprey expert as such), or is it as the title suggests really just 'washing' its feet?:

 
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Sterngucker

Well-known member
They do this to clean their feet and to cool off. Feet are often soiled with chickpooh from the nest and birds do not sweat but they can cool off via their legs. (I am not an Osprey expert of any kind, but I try to make goggle my friend.)
 

RecoveringScot

Well-known member
Well 'making Google' gets you other people's opinions of what they have seen. I am here trying to work out if what I am told is happening isn't really something else. Several things militate against its being mere foot-washing. 1) the presence of the other Osprey. 2) the fact that when the bird dips its feet they are held close together with talons clenched tightly, not a very efficient way of cleaning one's whole foot, rather like you and I clenching our fists, holding our two hands together and making straight lines in the water in the basin. But this is not how we actually clean our hands, is it? 3) the straight lines patterns of disturbed water, which seem to be deliberately produced and 4) the rather elaborate pattern of the bird''s flight, which moreover circles the other bird as if 'enclosing' it. Why not just fly backwards and forwards in one spot? No, I think other things are going on here.
 

Tsunamispeakershawks

Well-known member
A video from 16/04/21 of one of the Ospreys at Urdaibai Bird Center apparently displaying to the other of the pair by a 'trailing legs in the water display'. Not something I've heard of or seen before (though I am not an Osprey expert as such), or is it as the title suggests really just 'washing' its feet?:


A few days ago I saw a kind of similar behavior in Caspian terns. First a flying landed on the ocean to take a short bath a few times, and later one was trailing its bill over the water as skimmers do, only not nearly as long. I am not sure maybe terns do something like that, but I thought they are diving to catch a fish.


In your situation with the osprey it might have been some kind of hunting strategy. Maybe it wanted a fish to show itself?
 

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