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August 2022

Vol. 50, No. 4

Field Notes: Osprey Captures Vole

Susan Browne

Osprey with a captured vole. Photograph by the author.
Osprey with a captured vole. Photograph by the author.

On April 1, 2022, at the Mass Audubon North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, Massachusetts, I observed a female Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) sitting below the nest pole on a perch and calling. When the bird later flew off toward the North River, I followed its direction and subsequently observed it in the sky over the river, where I heard calling and saw a male Osprey circling the female repeatedly. I observed that the male was carrying prey and took several pictures of this courting behavior from the observation deck on the river. The silhouette of the prey was not that of a fish but rather appeared typical of a meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Eventually the pair flew off, and I saw the female shortly afterward on the nest. I did not witness the male delivering the vole nor either Osprey ingesting it.

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