Pandion haliaetus
Osprey

Key Characteristics

The Osprey is a large (22 -25 in / 56 - 64 cm) hawk with long, narrow wings, dark brown upper parts and white under parts. Its head is white with a dark eye streak. The dark "wrist" patches on the underside of its wings are visible in flight. Females may have dark streaking around their necks and immature bards have pale buff edging on the dark feathers of their upper surface.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S4
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger122000
Allegan11999
Alpena11993
Antrim12008
Baraga62000
Barry22013
Benzie31995
Berrien12009
Charlevoix21995
Cheboygan52007
Chippewa722006
Clare31993
Crawford11994
Delta352007
Dickinson92005
Emmet71995
Gogebic212008
Grand Traverse31995
Gratiot12002
Houghton11983
Ionia22014
Iosco22003
Iron342005
Isabella11992
Kalamazoo32009
Kalkaska31994
Keweenaw102000
Luce172003
Mackinac422001
Manistee31995
Marquette122012
Mecosta71997
Menominee11994
Missaukee11997
Montmorency11994
Muskegon11996
Newaygo12010
Ogemaw41995
Osceola21995
Presque Isle11994
Roscommon171999
Schoolcraft162008
Wexford11998
Distribution map for Pandion haliaetus

Updated 7/21/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Historically, Ospreys nested only in trees or snags or on cliffs but they have adapted to use some man-made structures such as utility poles and towers, chimneys, windmills, buoys, and platforms. Preferred nest sites are above or near water. Reintroductions have begun in certain areas in southern Michigan in recent years.

Specific Habitat Needs

Snag/cavity needed in Hardwood-conifer swamp, Northern hardwood swamp, Southern hardwood swamp, Floodplain forest

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management

Human activity near nesting birds may interfere with nesting success. Maintenance and construction activities should be avoided in a quarter mile radius around active nests between the onset of courtship in April and fledging of young birds in July. Additionally, snags should be left standing along shorelines whenever safety permits, as they are utilized both for nesting and perching while hunting.

Active Period

Migration from fourth week of March to second week of April

Nesting from third week of April to fourth week of July

Migration from first week of September to third week of November

Survey Methods

Osprey are best surveyed by checking lakes, rivers, and reservoirs for foraging adults that may be soaring overhead or perched on a snag, platform, or utility pole. Following adults during the breeding season may lead to the discovery of a nest. Known locations of nests or nesting platforms constructed to attract nesting Ospreys may also be checked as they will commonly use the same nest in successive years.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Nov 21, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

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