Bird Lore: Osprey

Photo by LeRoy VanHee
Photo by LeRoy VanHee

All of you Seattle Seahawk fans will be thrilled to know that the Osprey inspired the Seahawk name. This fish-catching raptor summers in Edmonds, as it does across most of North America, and then retreats to northern South America for the winter.

The Osprey has become dependent upon human structures for its nest sites. Look for nests on specially-constructed platforms, the tops of pole lights, cellular antenna towers, and other such structures. Sadly, its use of natural snags for nesting has plummeted along with the availability of natural nest sites. Happily, the Osprey has adapted well to human structures.

The Osprey usually is seen alone or in pairs. It will nest in small colonies when nest sites are available and fish are abundant. Each year Everett hosts a small nesting colony on the old pilings at the mouth of the Snohomish River. The first birds return toward the end of March. Late April and May are great times to watch the colony from Legion Memorial Park on West Marine View Drive in Everett.

Edmonds does not have a known nest site for Osprey but these raptors do nest at a couple of sites in Lynnwood. They have been known to nest in Kingston and visit Edmonds waters by a quick flight across the Sound. During the summer Osprey can be seen in ones or twos fishing along the waterfront, flying over the Edmonds marsh, and even eating fish on a snag in Yost Park.

“Soaring with Fidel,” by David Gessner, and published in 2007, is good American nature writing. It is about one man’s odyssey, following an Osprey on migration from Cape Cod to Cuba and beyond. It is available from Sno-Isle Libraries.

— By Carol Riddell


Carol Riddell, author of our new “Bird Lore” feature, manages the bird education displays, on behalf of Pilchuck Audubon Society and Edmonds Parks & Recreation, at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station.


  1. Wonderful picture, and informative article. My husband and I have enjoyed watching the Osprey, sometimes two, every evening flying and hovering overhead looking for fish. We will miss them when they leave the area, but will look forward to their return.

  2. Sunset Ave. is a good place to look for osprey diving into Puget Sound. There is a nest on a nesting platform built on the center field light stand of one of the softball fields at the Meadowdale Softball Complex in Lynnwood. The osprey have nested there for several years and don’t seem to mind the softball games going on below them.


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