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Event To Feature Large Osprey At Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
An osprey carries a trout

The osprey have returned for the summer to Flaming Gorge Reservoir in the corner of northeast Utah. To give the public an opportunity to see the osprey catch fish, the Division of Wildlife Resources will hold a viewing event July 11 at the gorge.

According to Ron Stewart, the northeastern regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, the birds are often mistaken for bald eagles but the osprey can fish in a way the bald eagle cannot.

“They’re one of the best fishing birds that we’ve got,” Stewart said. “They can actually come down, strike the water and go into the water, where something like a bald eagle just simply snatches it off the surface. But these can actually go into the water and then their wings are such that they can actually kind of helicopter themselves back straight up out of the water before flying. It’s really kind of a unique adaptation that they can do that.”

Stewart said the osprey has found refuge in the Flaming Gorge area in the past. They now continue to live there because of tall pinnacles surrounding the water which allow for convenient nesting spots.

“Flaming gorge is one of the places where they survived,” Stewart said. “At one point there was a bounty on birds—on osprey and other fishing birds—and the osprey survived at flaming gorge because no one really knew that they were there. No one really paid any attention to them in that particular area.”

Stewart says it’s not uncommon for people to see the birds when they visit Flaming Gorge through the summer. The event will be held in the morning on July 11 on the Dam Peninsula, next to the visitor center parking lot, at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.