New Neighbor in Whyte Ridge

Near the beginning of May I noticed a familiar silhouette flying high over Scurfield Park Lake. I was in a hurry so I didn’t pay much attention at the time and soon forgot about it.

A couple weeks later I was sitting in my back yard a noticed a large brown and white Raptor sitting on my neighbor’s chimney. “Hey”, I called to my family. “Check it out. An Osprey in our back  yard!” Suddenly it clicked  that this was the bird I had seen over the Lake.

If you are like me, encounters with nature always seem to bring a little peace to the hustle and bustle of daily life. I often take time to find little escapes to nature like hikes or canoe trips, but when a beautiful animal like this is right on your doorstep, it is just a pleasant bonus. It’s surprising what you can see if you keep your eyes open. So far this year I have seen Jack Rabbits, Geese, muskrat, lots of song birds, a Merlin (a small hawk), owls and now an Osprey all around Whyte Ridge. So if this is fun for you too, keep your eyes open. If we are really lucky we may have a breeding pair move in.

Fun facts about Ospreys:

  • They live on every continent except Antarctica,
  • Male and female birds look very similar,
  • They have a wingspan up to 180 cm and can stand up to 65 cm tall, weighing about 1.6 kg,
  • Fish make up 99% of their diet,
  • The osprey catches fish in a spectacular dive with speeds up to 80 km/h, head first, talons extended and wings folded,
  • Their claws are barbed and they have a reversible outer toe allowing them to grasp their wriggling prey more securely,
  • They can close their nostrils allowing them to dive down 3 feet below the water surface to snatch a fish,
  • Osprey’s build large nests of sticks which they use year after year and are not shy about using man made nesting platforms or other man made structures,

I have often seen Osprey’s in cottage country and up north but they are even here in Winnipeg it seems. Several years ago I saw one dive into the lake in Linden Woods with a terrific smacking sound and come up with a good size fish. So if this is fun for you too, keep your eyes open while you stroll around our lakes in Whyte Ridge. You might just get treated to one of the most spectacular displays of fishing you will ever see. If we are really lucky we may have a breeding pair move in and make Whyte Ridge their home for years to come. And why not – it’s a great place to live.

Chris Magura

Vice President WRCC