Mantling~

The classic osprey glare.

This distant osprey has a fish clutched in his talons.

He lands with his prize,

and spots me.

He immediately mantles to cover his prey from the potential thief.

You can see the nictitating membrane, or third inner eyelid, starting to cover his eye for protection as he subdues the thrashing fish. (Click to enlarge).

Up on the safety of the high wires,

he can ignore me more comfortably.

Cheers to you from the well fed osprey~

153 thoughts on “Mantling~

  1. Gorgeous Osprey photos and delightful commentary, Cindy. I like how you showed the nictating membrane and mantling to conceal lunch from you potential thief. One of the things I find most endearing about Osprey is the way they share food with a mate who is keeping eggs warm on their nest: an Osprey will catch a fish and give half of that fish to the nesting mate and keep half of that fish for itself. Beautiful Osprey captures Cindy. Best, Babsje

    • Thank you very much. Birds in general are the most amazingly dedicated, and incredibly hard working, family members. They haven’t read up on vacations. It is beautiful and exhausting to watch. We can learn a lot about how to be better people by watching bird parents. დ

      • I wish I could give this more than one “like.” “They haven’t read up on vacations” is priceless. And you are so right about what birds can teach humans.

    • Dear Cindy,

      I concur with babsje. Thank you for featuring my avian colleague, the mantling osprey, in such good light and commendable majesty.

      Therefore, I would like to thank you and wish you all the best with the following, whilst paying homage to my soaring avian colleague:


      Hold Fast To Dreams!


      For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

      https://soundeagle.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/hold-fast-to-dreams.jpg

      May you and babsje have a lovely week ahead and a Happy August!

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

  2. I always enjoy photographs showing a bird or animal going about its daily business of life. This sequence of photographs fits the bill exactly.

  3. This bird kind of resembles the hawk I saw in Rawalpindi. We had a kitchen outside of our main building. Whenever our servant Bari tried to go with the cooked food to the pantry in the building, out of nowhere this bird would make a dive to get the food from Bari’s hands. It succeeded to snatch part of it. The worst thing it did was getting our cute little chickens, when they were out with the mother hen. Those hawks were brown and were vicious.
    I wonder about the birds you share on your post. 🙂

    • I had a similar experience with Harrier Hawks in Argentina. They routinely dived at us because the trail we had to take took us close to their nesting sight. I wore snug sunglasses and a thick hat and my camera, whenever I had to leave and watched them every step of the way. I ducked when they dove, it was sort of thrilling, liking diving under big waves დ

  4. Pingback: Mantling~ — (Gorgeous photographs from the incredibly talented Cindy–Gigi) | Rethinking Life

  5. We had a hawk stuck in a pigeon coop a couple years ago, Cindy. My husband was attempting to raise carrier pigeons. The hawk got into a small space between the wire slats and I remember thinking that he would definitely take us out if he had the capability. The eyes said it all!

  6. What a beautiful bird! I never heard of mantling before, so that was interesting to know about. Love your photos – so easy to see the details of the bird’s feathers, eyes, and legs. 🙂

  7. He looks like he’s checking you out Cindy, are you good to eat, are you a threat, and are you too big to carry off.
    Leslie xoxo

  8. Hahaha! I burst out laughing when I saw the opening shot.
    I know it’s a deadly bird, if you’re a fish, but it has a comical look, in that first pic!
    It’s a brilliant capture, Cindy!

  9. Amazing as usual, Cindy! I love seeing ospreys here in the Spokane area. At Post Falls, ID, we saw parent ospreys feeding their 2 chicks in the mad-made nest near the trail. Seeing the membrane with your lens is remarkable!

    • Thanks much Terri. Ospreys can jump into the water feet first and see through their clear blue nictitating membranes to locate fish. They also close their nares or nostrils underwater. They are aquatically adapted raptors დ

  10. Dear Cindy – you have a talent for storytelling. You recognize that every creature (not only humans) that inhabits our world has a story that needs to be heard. And you tell it beautiful with with your photography.

  11. When we lived in the country our property included a 25 acre “pond”. I captured a picture of an osprey just once from a distance visiting our farm in Michigan. I’m sure he was there to fish looking for the bass in our pond. Even though it was a little blurry I could tell what it was – a special day. Wish I had your camera equipment!

  12. Mr. Osprey didn’t know you’d probably prefer fish that was cooked! Still, you’ve got to admire a bird intent on keeping his treasure for himself. Great close-ups, Cindy.

    • Laughing…….Considering how hard raptors have to work, and how on top of their game they have to be to actually catch prey, I felt great empathy for him. “Is this dumb human land dwelling human going to force me off my the food I need?” The answer is no! Eat birdie, eat 😉 დ

  13. It looked to me, Cindy, like a “I dare you to try and take my fish” look. A beautiful, fierce bird. –Curt

    • Yes! Those eyes may cross, but they see better than you and I 😉 Unlike sharks, did you know the nictitating membrane that covers their eyes works for them both in the air, on land, and underwater? The membrane is tinted blue and they can detect movement and light and shadow underwater. They usually hit the water feet first, but the hunt may continue underwater, so the membranes help them see, and their nares (nostrils) seal up to protect them from drowning. It is amazing to me, this creature is so adept and skillful in the air, on land, and under water. დ

  14. I keep an eye on that birdie as he is so close in the pictures, that are absolutely fabulous as always. Too bad he didn’t want to share the fishie with you, Cindy😸Pawkisses for a Happy Day🐾😽💞

  15. Unbelievable images, Cindy!
    I’ve never seen anything like these anywhere.
    I am not surprised my first experience of such photos would be yours.
    Cheers to you and yours, my friend.

    • Raptors do that. I love it. Sometimes they dive, and I duck, but it is more a show of force, than an actual intent to maim, unless you are really, what is that word? Funnily enough, this plastic surgeon I know, doesn’t seem to understand raptors. There was a nest on his property, and he walked under it and got strafed, serious laceration of his head. It made first place in the national news, when there was a much bigger story happening. He said, “I have to get rid of that nest, but they tell me it is illegal.”
      Since it got so much attention, he couldn’t be illegal.
      I asked him, “Why did you walk under the nest if you knew it was there?”
      He said, “It’s where I keep my trash cans.”
      He got strafed again the following year.
      Raptors don’t like people who don’t get the message.
      We are in horrible drought now in Cali. I put jet nozzles on an industrial hose, harnessing our agricultural strength irrigation pressure, pointed it to the sky, and watched the hawks cry and cry, as they fly back and forth under the mists.

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