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Our Landmark Feature - The Majestic Bird of Prey

Every vacation home or property has a stand out feature which is recognized as a memorable landmark. At Mystic Mountain it’s not something we could have planned on, built or even ordered and paid for. In fact, it was an unexpected but very natural and welcomed treat. Our resident Osprey nest adjacent to our home is a constant source of wonder for our guests whom are always delighted the first time they see and hear these birds that have become our mystical mascots. They inspire, amuse and awe anyone whose interest they capture.

The Osprey is a majestic Bird of Prey and a a symbol of true power, with mastery over the sea, air and land. ... It is a true hunter, with speed, agility, power and precision. It is a symbol of keen vision, seeing its prey clearly and not being blinded by the sun as it dives towards its target. They bring a sense of courage and a desire to explore and grow. To dream of a flying eagle or one who is perched high signifies good fortune or victory coming your way. 

The mystical meaning or native American medicine of osprey is connected to all aspects of solar worship. And can come into one's life to emphasize the value and healing properties of the sun, and to help those who practice mystically or spiritually to facilitate sun-god communion. 

An appearance of osprey in your life can indicate an appearance of the Spirit in the form of the Beacon, coming to guide you back to a place of safety or security, or to a feeling of grounded-ness. Ospreys come into our life to teach us how to hone our senses, on both a physical and spiritual level. 

I was surprised to learn that Ospreys are not eagles as they are in their own clade of raptors. Ospreys are smaller then bald eagles, have white chests, grey legs, a distinct dark-brown eye strip. And when they fly their wings make a “M” shape formation. Adult bald eagles have unmistakable white heads and tails, have dark chests, yellow legs and do hold their wings flat. 

Ospreys are unique birds of prey in that they are the only raptor to eat exclusively fish making them consummate fishermen, hence their nickname “fish hawk” or “sea-hawk” Several adaptations allow for their expert fishing skills, including a reversible outer toe for grabbing fish, special pads on the feet for holding on to slippery fish, underwater vision, a fleshy nostril that closes and the ability to dive into the water at high speeds after fish - feet first frequently in  shallow water. Making the lakes and ponds surrounding our property the perfect feeding ground and a source of entertainment to witness.

Mated for life and devoted parents, these raptors cooperate to hatch their young, feed them as they grow, and protect them from the elements until they leave the nest. Ospreys have a high nest-site fidelity and return after long southerly migrations to the very nest year after year. This is why they have become a popular landmark every summer at Mystic Mountain. Osprey are very tolerant of humans and seem to enjoy putting on a show with fly byes soaring above the house and posing on tree limbs for photos.

Osprey typically lay 2 to 4 eggs in April or May about 3 days apart. The female incubates them for about a month, all the while fiercely protecting the nest with her mate. During the last 10 to 15 days prior to fledging, the young regularly exercise their wings to develop their flight muscles. A frequent summer sight. Finally, when the young are about 50 to 55 days of age, they leave the nest but will use the nest as home base until they migrate in September-October and leave Mystic until spring. Perfect viewing months for our vacation rental season: May-September.

Like all raptors, osprey have a high mortality rate in the first year of life. Ospreys are migratory and travel long distances south – as far as Central and South America returning in spring. Some will journey as much as 4,500 miles in about a month. Should its mate not return, the male will likely attract another mate. The typical osprey lifespan is 10-20 years.

By Kalli Holmes Sorensen

Owner/Manager - MysticMountainMontanc.com 

 

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