This Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest is located on a utility pole along Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge. The mother is very protective of her young, she is quite unhappy when we arrive for Science Camp each June, she flies over the nest and calls loudly. We once saw an osprey knock a great blue heron from the air into the lake when the heron flew over the nest one too many times. We were amazed that the osprey continued to harass the heron for several minutes as it struggled to "swim" 100 yards or so to shore. Where was the "Crocodile Hunter," Steve Irwin's, camera crew when we needed them!? :)
Ospreys are easy to differentate from hawks, eagles, or vultures by the "crook" in the wings. They hover over the water and dive down feet-first to catch fish with their sharp talons. It is interesting to see how they fly turning the fish headfirst to make it more aerodynamic.
One year the male osprey was blown out of this nest during a violent storm. He broke his wing when he hit it on the guywire. The next morning some of my students found him sitting on the ground. A wildlife officer was nearby, so he took the bird to a rehabilitation center. Unfortunatley, the bird was too severely injured to save.