Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Osprey Fish Tail Lore

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

© 2021 Babsje ( © 2021 Babsje (

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

Some birds are more egalitarian than others when it comes to incubating their eggs and attending to their chicks in the nest.

Mute Swans for example? Both males and females have been observed sitting on their eggs during their five-to-six week incubation. Click to see the male Mute Swan incubating eggs.

Great Blue Herons share the care and feeding of their chicks. Click to read about the Great Blue Herons’ shift change at the nest.

And what about Osprey? One bit of Osprey lore is that they always carry fish with the fish head facing in their direction of flight, for better in-flight aerodynamics. In the photos today, although the fish has no head, the Osprey is indeed carrying it with an invisible head forward. I find that aspect of the headless fish photos amusing.

Incubating eggs is largely the job of the female Osprey. It is the role of the male to bring meals back to the nest for the female during the one-month incubation period. I’ve read that the male Osprey shares his catch with his mate at the nest: when he catches a fish, he brings half the fish back to the female.

Until that October day, I had often seen and photographed Osprey carrying fish, but those fish were always whole fish. In both photos today, the Osprey is carrying half a fish. Presumably he has already given the other half to the nesting female.

I am moved by his heartwarming pair-bonding gesture.


And since this is a Great Blue Heron blog, obligatory Heron photo:

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake - babsjeheron © Babsje (

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron


This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. That half a fish being carried by the Osprey was once a whole and very alive fish swimming through the lake. Those were certainly better days for that fish. Even the Great Blue Heron with her broken leg had seen better days!


Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Half of Anything. The Osprey is carrying half a fish. The image is straight out of the camera (SOOC), as-is except for cropping and was not artificially manipulated to become B&W. The skies were a beautiful October leaden grey.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .


Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
Natick Town Hall
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Osprey, Mute Swan

Posted on October 5, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Fishing, Heron, Mute Swan, Nature, Osprey, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. Wonderful silhouettes, Babsje.

    • Hi Tish. So glad you like the Osprey silhouettes, many thanks for your kind compliment. That leaden grey sky was stunning that day and seeing the Osprey was the icing on the cake. Best, Babsje

  2. So interesting this Bird’s story , their lives are great example to us 👌🌷🙏 so inspiring photography 👍🏻❤️😊

  3. I’ve seen that same behaviour before with Baldies. The male goes out in search of food. When he finds it he will fly back to the nest with it for his mate who is nesting.
    He will return to hunt for another fish.After catching a second one he will perch and eat himself and then take back the rest.
    I think that is what is going on here with this Osprey? He has already eaten and is coming back to the nest to share and yes they always seem to fly with the head pointing forward.

    • Hi Wayne. Thanks for confirming that you’ve seen similar behavior with your Bald Eagle friends, great comment. Isn’t it funny that the Osprey has his HEADLESSless fish aimed head-first? It is wonderful that the Bald Eagles nurture their mates, too. Do the Ravens and Crows share food like that? Best, Babsje

      • Yes,both Ravens and Crows share food.

        • Thanks Wayne. I think male Eagles and Herons share food with mates and nestlings until the chicks fledge and maybe for only a short time afterwards, but after that? Male Herons do not. With Ravens and Crows do they continue to share even when they don’t have any chicks around to nurture?

          • yes,I’ve seen Robbie feeding Rita on several occasions. As far as eagles go,I’ve seen the youngsters visit and wait for the parent to get it’s fill. Once they fly away the adult will allow it’s offspring to feed on the leftovers.

            • Robbie is so endearing to feed Rita. Male Great Blues actively shoo offspring away from their food territories. The Bald Eagles sound like they have the “kids table” for the youngsters at a big family holiday meal!

              • It all depends on the eagle I suspect? I’ve seen Romeo screeching at it’s youngsters to get lost and chase a few away. If he is well fed and his youngster is around I have seen him fly away leaving the fish for it’s offspring.

                • Thanks Wayne. What with it getting into Salmon season I hope there’s lots of sharing with the young ones all around. And the Bears? I guess the adults would still be taking food to the new cubs during their first year of a Salmon run?

                  • Adults? There is no male around taking care of the cubs. The Sow wouldn’t allow the father or any other male to come close to her cubs!
                    She would share the salmon with her cubs. She grabs a salmon and runs into the forest right away with her cub/s following!

  4. Incredibly action captures! The second one is my favorite. 🙂

  5. Ce dimanche, j’ai vu un héron coquet penché sur une branche, j’ai aussitôt pensé à ce joli blog qui les salue à chaque nouvel article 🙂

  6. Terrific photos 😀 😀

  7. Happy I discovered your site. Beautiful images of these Osprey.

  8. From what I understand, male robins draw much of the nesting duties. When the baby robins are born, daddy robin does most of the feeding. So, what does the female robins do? I surmise less. 🙂 🙂

    • This is interesting to know, thanks David I learned a lot from your comment. Robins here are strange. One built a nest in a hanging flower basket I placed on my front porch and frequently dive-bombed the glass in the front door – to scare off that “other” bird that was merely it’s own reflection. A different Robin nesting on the other side of the house kept attacking my landlord’s car mirror, pooping all over it. She was less than pleased. The female Robins had to produce the eggs which I bet is a little uncomfortable for them?? Best, Babsje

  9. I wouldn’t have thought you’d find seen better days with your beautiful birds Babsje, but indeed you did! Good job!!

    • Many thanks, Tina, your comment has me giggling. I did resist the impulse to post birds with broken feathers or hooks in their bill. I adore your own photo of the abandoned boat, btw. It brought back childhood memories of driving through NJ after a bad hurricane the previous year and seeing boats and homes in places they didn’t belong. Thanks for the challenging challenge! Best, Babsje

  10. That’s really interesting, Babsje. The aerodynamics of carrying a fish! Your images are lovely, as always.

    • Hi Patti. Thanks for your kind comment. Yes, Eagles also carry their fish head-first according to our resident Bald Eagle expert. I just find it so very funny that Osprey has his fish with no head still correctly aimed. Glad you like this one. Best, Babsje

  11. Excellent, Babsje. ‘Half a fish, half a fish, half a fish onward.’ ‘Quoth the Raven, I have no more.’ And other silly stuff. NVM.

  12. prachtig.Zelf heb ik in de natuur nog nooit een vis-arend gezien.

    • Thanks so much Marylou. I’m glad you like the Fish Eagle. They are not common in your country but I hope you are able to see one some day. Best, Babsje

  1. Pingback: Beautiful Herons and Friends: There are No Wrong Answers | Babsje Heron

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