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What TN Bird is This?


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I recently stayed at a cabin in Paris Tennessee, and saw this large hawk-like bird above the large lake. The area is in the middle of the woods as well, in February, about midday. It seems to have a white head with a dark crown and around its eyes, and a solid white stomach with a bit of darker speckles on the chest. 

Unfortunately these are the best photos I have to share, even with my macro camera lens. Most search results came up with an Osprey? I know next to nothing about birds, but this fella just looks so beautiful, any help in identifying what kind it is would be appreciated! 

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Edited by Leo
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Yep Osprey! Love watching these birds fish. They will actually dive into the water for their catch. I often see them either perched with a fish under their talons or flying through the air with a fish in their talons. The fish always seems to be pointing face forward, probably to make it aerodynamic.

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Incredible! Thank you each so much for your help. Ospreys are now one of my new favorite birds!

The way they can completely submerge under water when catching a fish, then fly right back into the sky is stunning. I've watched so many videos now of the way they hunt, I'd love to see it in person one day.

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16 minutes ago, Leo said:

Incredible! Thank you each so much for your help. Ospreys are now one of my new favorite birds!

The way they can completely submerge under water when catching a fish, then fly right back into the sky is stunning. I've watched so many videos now of the way they hunt, I'd love to see it in person one day.

Welcome to Whatbird, Leo!  Yes, Ospreys are totally cool.

The good news is that it's a lot easier to get a sighting of an Osprey catching a fish than most other birds of prey catching anything.  You could try going to a lake with good fishing (in spring, summer, or fall, as Tony Leukering implied) with maybe something else to do--fishing, hiking, canoeing, picnicking--and see if you can see one.  I just looked at the Species Maps on ebird.org and saw that there seem to be some good places in Tennessee, such as Chickamauga Dam near Chattanooga.  If you want to do this, your local Audubon Society might be able to give you tips, or there might be some people here who could.

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