Date of this Version
J. Raptor Res. 48(4):325–333.
North American Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) typically migrate long distances to their wintering grounds in the tropics. Beyond the general distribution of their wintering range (i.e., the Caribbean, South America, and Central America), very little is known about the wintering ecology of these birds. We used satellite telemetry to determine the duration of wintering period, to examine the characteristics of wintering areas used by Ospreys, and to quantify space use and activity patterns of wintering Ospreys. Adult Ospreys migrated to wintering sites and exhibited high wintering site fidelity among years. Overall, Ospreys wintered on river systems (50.6%) more than on lakes (19.0%), and use of coastal areas was (30.4%) intermediate. Ospreys remained on their wintering grounds for an average of 154 d for males and 167 d for females. Locations of wintering Ospreys obtained via GPS-capable satellite telemetry suggest these birds move infrequently and their movements are very localized (i.e., <5 km from selected roosting areas). Sizes of home ranges and core-use areas for wintering Ospreys averaged 12.7 km2 and 1.4 km2, respectively. Overall, our findings suggest wintering adult North American Ospreys are very sedentary, demonstrating a pattern of limited daily movements and high fidelity to a few select locations (presumably roosts). We suggest this wintering strategy might be effective for reducing the risk of mortality and maximizing energy conservation.