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WILDLIFE SPECIES:  Pandion haliaetus


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1993. Pandion haliaetus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : PAHA COMMON NAMES : osprey fish hawk fish eagle TAXONOMY : The currently recognized scientific name for the osprey is Pandion haliaetus (Linnaeus) [4,24,32]. Four subspecies are recognized. Size and plumage best separate subspecies, but the differences are not always clear. This report will primarily deal with the North American subspecies: Pandion haliaetus ssp. carolinesis (Gmelin). Other recognized subspecies are [24,32]: Pandion haliaetus ssp. haliaetus Pandion haliaetus ssp. ridgwayi Pandion haliaetus ssp. cristatus ORDER : Falconiformes CLASS : BirdFEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : Not listed OTHER STATUS : Information on state- and province-level protection status of animals in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe, although recent changes in status may not be included.


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The osprey is nearly worldwide in distribution. It breeds in temperate and tropical regions of all continents except South America. In North America the subspecies carolinensis breeds from northwest Alaska and northern Yukon to central Labrador and Newfoundland and south to Baja California, central Arizona, southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and southern Florida [5,28]. They are migratory throughout most of their range, wintering in Central and South America as far south as Argentina and Chile [4,25]. Populations in southern Florida, Baja California, and the Pacific coast of Mexico are year-round residents [25]. The distributions of the other three subspecies are as follows [4]: P. h. haliaetus - occurs from the Palearctic (Europe, the northwest coast of Africa, and Asia north of the Himalayas). P. h. ridgwayii - occurs in the Caribbean P. h. cristatus - occurs in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby South Pacific islands. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White-red-jack pine FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES12 Longleaf-slash pine FRES13 Loblolly-shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak-pine FRES15 Oak-hickory FRES16 Oak-gum-cypress FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES18 Maple-beech-birch FRES19 Aspen-birch FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES22 Western white pine FRES23 Fir-spruce FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce FRES25 Larch FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES35 Pinyon-juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES42 Annual grasslands STATES :
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest K004 Fir - hemlock forest K005 Mixed conifer forest K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K009 Pine - cypress forest K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K011 Western ponderosa pine K012 Douglas-fir forest K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K019 Arizona pine forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K022 Great Basin pine forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K025 Alder - ash forest K026 Oregon oakwoods K029 California mixed evergreen forest K030 California oakwoods K031 Oak - juniper woodlands K032 Transition between K031 and K037 K047 Fescue - oatgrass K049 Tule marshes K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass K053 Grama - galleta steppe K054 Grama - tobosa prairie K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K071 Shinnery K072 Sea oats prairie K073 Northern cordgrass prairie K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K076 Blackland prairie K077 Bluestem - sacahuista prairie K078 Southern cordgrass prairie K079 Palmetto prairie K080 Marl - everglades K081 Oak savanna K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K083 Cedar glades K084 Cross Timbers K085 Mesquite - buffalograss K086 Juniper - oak savanna K087 Mesquite - oak savanna K088 Fayette prairie K089 Black Belt K090 Live oak - sea oats K091 Cypress savanna K092 Everglades K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K098 Northern floodplain forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K101 Elm - ash forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K105 Mangrove K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K109 Transition between K104 and K106 K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest K116 Subtropical pine forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple 21 Eastern white pine 22 White pine - hemlock 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry - maple 35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir 37 Northern white-cedar 38 Tamarack 39 Black ash - American elm - red maple 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 42 Bur oak 43 Bear oak 44 Chestnut oak 45 Pitch pine 46 Eastern redcedar 50 Black locust 51 White pine - chestnut oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 57 Yellow-poplar 58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock 59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple 61 River birch - sycamore 62 Silver maple - American elm 63 Cottonwood 64 Sassafras - persimmon 65 Pin oak - sweetgum 69 Sand pine 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 73 Southern redcedar 75 Shortleaf pine 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 78 Virginia pine - oak 79 Virginia pine 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 84 Slash pine 85 Slash pine - hardwood 88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak 89 Live oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 92 Sweetgum - willow oak 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash 94 Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm 95 Black willow 107 White spruce 108 Red maple 98 Pond pine 96 Overcup oak - water hickory 101 Baldcypress 111 South Florida slash pine 109 Hawthorn 110 Black oak 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 208 Whitebark pine 209 Bristlecone pine 210 Interior Douglas-fir 211 White fir 212 Western larch 213 Grand fir 215 Western white pine 216 Blue spruce 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 219 Limber pine 221 Red alder 222 Black cottonwood - willow 223 Sitka spruce 224 Western hemlock 225 Western hemlock - Sitka spruce 226 Coastal true fir - hemlock 227 Western redcedar - western hemlock 228 Western redcedar SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY PLANT COMMUNITIES : Ospreys occur in a variety of plant communities in association with riparian habitat including shrublands, grasslands, swamps, and coniferous and deciduous forests [14,24,30]. In Minnesota, ospreys nest most frequently in lowland communities such as those dominated by black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina) [17]. In California, ospreys are primarily associated with ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and mixed-conifer types [30].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus
TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : Courtship - Ospreys generally arrive on their breeding grounds in late March or early April. Pair bonding persists from one year to the next, and the same nest site may be used for many years [26]. Most ospreys are monogamous; occasionally they breed as a polygynous trio (one male breeding concurrently with two females) [24]. Age at first reproduction - Ospreys generally first breed when they are between 3 and 4 years old [24,28]. Juveniles spend about 17 months on the wintering gounds. At around 2 years of age they return to the nesting grounds but do not breed until the following year [28]. Age at first reproduction varies not only among individual ospreys but among populations, apparently in relation to the availability of nest sites and other resources. For example, birds along the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay do not start breeding until they are 5 to 7 years old due to the lack of nest sites [24]. Clutch/incubation/fledging - Most migratory ospreys lay two to four eggs from late April to early May and incubate them for 5 to 6 weeks [24,28]. An average of 1.1 to 1.3 young per active nest are fledged per year [28]. Young fledge when they are about 2 months old [4,28]. They return to the nest for feeding and roosting for another week, and can be found nearby for sometime after that [4]. Most resident ospreys lay their clutch in winter. In southern Florida, for example, ospreys lay from early December until late February [24]. Life span - On average, out of 100 fledged young, 37 will be alive 4 years after fledging, 17 will be alive 8 years after fledging, and only six to eight will be alive 12 years after fledging. The greatest longevity recorded is 25 years [24]. PREFERRED HABITAT : Ospreys occupy a wide range of habitats near water, primarily lakes, rivers, and coastal waters with adequate supplies of fish [4]. Their nests are generally built within 6 to 7 miles (9.6-11.2 km) of large lakes or rivers with slow-moving water [14,30]. Flattened portions of partially broken off snags, trees, rocks, dirt pinnacles, cacti, and numerous man-made structures such as utility poles and duck blinds are used for nests [14,28,30]. The nests consist of a large interwoven pile of sticks lined with some soft material such as cedar bark or moss [28,30]. The area around the nest is generally open, giving the birds clear access when landing. Ponderosa pine in the western United States, tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) in the eastern United States, and mangroves (Rhizophora spp.) in the subtropics are all favored as nest trees for this reason [24]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : Ospreys typically nest at the extreme tip of a tree or snag with little or no overhead cover [17]. They prefer tall snags that provide good visibility and security [5]. Ospreys also prefer to nest over water for protection against climbing predators. Islands free of mammalian predators allow safe nesting in low trees and even on the ground. Swamps also provide safe nesting [24]. FOOD HABITS : The osprey diet consists almost entirely of fish, but they will occasionally eat frogs, snakes, ducks, crows, and small mammals [5,6,28,29]. Ospreys can penetrate only about 3 feet (1 m) below the water surface. Therefore, they generally catch only surface fish or those that frequent shallow flats and shorelines. Ospreys are opportunists. If fish are abundant, accessible, and the right size they seldom go unconsumed [24]. Poole [24] found that along the southern coast of New England, about one-half of the fish ospreys eat during the breeding season are winter flounder (Pseudopleuonectes americanus). White herring (Alosa spp.) and Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) each supply another 20 percent of the diet. Inland ospreys are likely to eat the same species of fish throughout the breeding season, but coastal populations change prey regularly in response to the seasonal migration of marine fish [24]. Ospreys in western North America often eat suckers, carp, bullhead (Ictalurus spp.), and perch (Perca flavescens) when nesting near warm shallow lakes or reservoirs but eat trout when nesting near deeper, colder waters [24,29]. PREDATORS : Crocodiles (Crocodylus spp.) have been known to eat ospreys roosting on mudbanks, but only owls (mostly great horned owls [Bubo virginianus]) kill adult ospreys with any regularity. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) will eat osprey eggs and chicks. Predators exert a major impact on the nest sites ospreys choose. Most climbing predators like raccoons seem reluctant to swim far, so only aerial predators such as owls reach overwater nests easily [24]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : In the 1960's osprey populations declined as a result of DDT which were washed into water courses and ingested by fish. These DDT residues affected the estrogen hormone which controls calcium and egg shell thickness, resulting in thinner shells and broken eggs [4,26]. Following tight restrictions on the use of DDT, pesticide residues declined, and North American osprey populations increased consistently between 1968 and 1981. Ospreys are still vulnerable to contamination during migration in Central and South America, where DDT continues to be used to control mosquitos which carry malaria parasites [26]. Some bird species have been observed forming protective nesting associations with ospreys by building their nests in the sides or bottoms of the stick nests of ospreys. These include house wrens (Troglodytes aedon), house sparrows (Passer domesticus), European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), night-herons (Nycticorax spp.), swallows (Hirundinidae), and jays (Corvidae) [26]. Artificial nest sites are successfully used by ospreys. One study showed that the overall breeding success improved from 45.9 percent in natural trees to 62.9 percent in man-made platforms [12]. Human disturbance during the critical periods of incubation and early nesting stages can be fatal to embryos and nestlings if adults are kept from their nests. Until an osprey pair becomes habituated to human activities, human disturbance will jeopardize their nesting success [29].


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus
DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Ospreys are probably able to escape fire, however, nests may be destroyed. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : Information was not found in the literature on habitat related fire effects of the osprey; however, fires will presumably create and destroy snags used by ospreys. Additionally, the short-term effects of a riparian fire may affect the osprey's food supply. Removal of streamside vegetation increases the risk of streambank erosion, reduces available habitat and raises stream temperatures, all of which could potentially reduce fish populations in the stream. However, the long-term effect of fire on fish populations could be benefical. The thinning and removal of conifers along streams by fire and stimulation of deciduous vegetation promotes cover, provides shading, and allows development of terrestrial insects important in the diet of fish [31]. FIRE USE : NO-ENTRY FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".


WILDLIFE SPECIES: Pandion haliaetus
REFERENCES : 1. Benson, Patrick C. 1979. Land use and wildlife with emphasis on raptors. [Ogden, UT]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 32 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [17208] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. Bider, J. Roger; Bird, David M. 1983. Distribution and densities of osprey populations in the Great Whale Region of Quebec. In: Bird, David M.; Seymour, Norman R.; Gerrard, Jon M., eds. Biology and management of bald eagles and ospreys. Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.: 223-230. [20128] 4. Cadman, Michael D.; Eagles, Paul F. J.; Helleiner, Frederick M. 1987. Atlas of the breeding birds of Ontario. University of Waterloo Press. 617 p. [20129] 5. DeGraaf, Richard M.; Scott, Virgil E.; Hamre, R. H.; [and others]. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. Agric. Handb. 688. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 625 p. [15856] 6. DuBois, Kristi; Becker, Dale; Thornbrugh, Joe. 1987. Identification of Montana's birds of prey. Montana Outdoors. 18(6): 11-31. [3606] 7. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 8. Finch, Deborah M. 1992. Threatened, endangered, and vulnerable species of terrestrial vertebrates in the Rocky Mountain Region. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-215. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 38 p. [18440] 9. Flook, Donald R.; Forbes, L. Scott. 1983. Ospreys and water management at Creston, British Columbia. In: Bird, David M.; Seymour, Norman R.; Gerrard, Jon M., eds. Biology and management of bald eagles and ospreys. Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.: 281-286. [20130] 10. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 11. Glinski, Richard L.; Grubb, Teryl G.; Forbis, Larry A. 1983. Snag use by selected raptors. In: Davis, Jerry W.; Goodwin, Gregory A.; Ockenfeis, Richard A., technical coordinators. Snag habitat management: Proceedings of the symposium; 1983 June 7 - June 9; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-99. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 130-133. [17827] 12. Houston, C. Stuart; Scott, Frank. 1992. The effect of man-made platforms on osprey reproduction at Loon Lake, Saskatchewan. Journal of Raptor Research. 26(3): 152-158. [20131] 13. Kochert, Michael N. 1986. Raptors. In: Cooperrider, Allan Y.; Boyd, Raymond J.; Stuart, Hanson R., eds. Inventory and monitoring of wildlife habitat. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Denver Service Center: 313-349. [13527] 15. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 16. Kushlan, James A.; Bass, Orin L., Jr. 1983. Decreases in the southern Florida osprey population, a possible of food stress. In: Bird, David M.; Seymour, Norman R.; Gerrard, Jon M., eds. Biology and management of bald eagles and ospreys. Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.: 187-200. [20132] 17. Mathisen, John E. 1968. Identification of bald eagle and osprey nests in Minnesota. Loon. 40(4): 113-114. [13996] 19. Meslow, E. Charles. 1978. The relationship of birds to habitat structure - plant communities and successional stages. In: DeGraaf, Richard M, technical coordinator. Proceedings of the Workshop on Nongame Bird Habitat Manage- ment in the Coniferous Forests of the Western United States; 1977 February 7 - February 9; Portland, OR. General Technical Report PNW-64. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 12-18. [17782] 20. Miller, Eileen; Miller, Donald R. 1980. Snag use by birds. In: DeGraaf, Richard M., technical coordinator. Management of western forests and grasslands for nongame birds; 1980 February 11-14; Salt Lake City, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-86. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 337-356. [17914] 21. Munther, Greg; Diebert, Jerry; Hillis, Mike. 1978. Some wildlife and fisheries habitat management concepts. Forest Workshops: 1978 May 3-4; [Location of workshops unknown]. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 1, Lolo National Forest.66 p. [17163] 22. Perala, Donald A. 1977. Manager's handbook for aspen in the north central states. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-36. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 30 p. [5632] 23. Phillips, Robert L.; Wheeler, Anne H.; Lockhart, J. Michael; [and others]. 1990. Nesting ecology of golden eagles and other raptors in southeastern Montana and northern Wyoming. Fish and Wildlife Technical Report 26. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 13 p. [15474] 24. Poole, Alan F. 1989. Ospreys: a natural and unnatural history. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. 246 p. [20133] 25. Prevost, Yves A. 1983. Osprey distribution and subspecies taxonomy. In: Bird, David M.; Seymour, Norman R.; Gerrard, Jon M., eds. Biology and management of bald eagles and ospreys. Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.: 157-186. [20134] 26. Ryser, Fred A. 1985. Birds of the Great Basin. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 604 p. [20135] 27. Sanderson, H. Reed; Bull, Evelyn L.; Edgerton, Paul J. 1980. Bird communities in mixed conifer forests of the interior northwest. In: DeGraaf, Richard M., technical coordinator. Management of western forests and grasslands for nongame birds: Workshop proceedings; 1980 February 11-14; Salt Lake City, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-86. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 224-237. [17907] 28. Burns, Timothy S. 1974. Wildlife situation report and management plan for the American osprey. Coordinating Guidelines for Wildlife Habitat Management No. 1. Hamilton, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Region, Bitterroot National Forest. 6 p. [20008] 29. Van Daele, Lawrence J.; Van Daele, Hilary A. 1982. Factors affecting the productivity of ospreys nesting in west-central Idaho. Condor. 84: 292-299. [15143] 30. Verner, Jared; Boss, Allan S., tech. coords. 1980. California wildlife and their habitats: western Sierra Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-37. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 439 p. [10237] 31. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. [2620] 32. Donohoe, Robert W. 1974. American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana Walt. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., eds. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 86-88. [13714] 33. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. 1994. Fragile legacy: Endangered, threatened and rare animals of South Dakota. Pierre, SD: South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, Wildlife Division. 55 p. [24341] 34. France, R.; Sharp, M. 1992. First record of the rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus, from Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 106(4): 511-512. [23425] 35. Washington Department of Wildlife. 1994. Species of special concern in Washington - state and federal status. Olympia, WA: Washington Department of Wildlife. 41 p. [25414]

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