HomeVieraBrevard photographer captures amazing midair fish theft between Osprey and Crested Caracara

Brevard photographer captures amazing midair fish theft between Osprey and Crested Caracara

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In a stunning wildlife encounter just outside the Viera Wetlands fence, wildlife photographer Barbara D’Angelo captured a series of shots showcasing an intense aerial showdown between an osprey and a crested caracara.

Barbara, who happened to be leaving the wetlands after a morning walk, quickly seized the moment as the osprey soared by, carrying a tilapia.

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Pulling over and grabbing her camera, she skillfully documented the unfolding drama as the crested caracara swooped in out of nowhere, attempting to snatch the osprey’s hard-earned fish.

The ensuing struggle ended with a surprising turn of events, as the crested caracara emerged victorious, securing its prize in a nearby field.

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This riveting wildlife spectacle highlights the raw and competitive nature of the avian residents in the Viera Wetlands ecosystem.

Photographer Barbara D’Angelo

The osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the crested caracara (Caracara cheriway) are fascinating birds with distinct characteristics that contribute to their roles in the intricate balance of the Viera Wetlands ecosystem.

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The osprey, often referred to as the “fish hawk,” is renowned for its remarkable fishing prowess. With a diet predominantly consisting of fish, these raptors have evolved to be superb anglers. Their reversible outer toes and specialized barbed pads on their feet enable them to securely grip slippery prey, making them a formidable force in aquatic environments.

On the other wing, the crested caracara is a striking member of the falcon family known for its bold and opportunistic behavior. Unlike many birds of prey, crested caracaras display a diverse diet, including small mammals, reptiles, and carrion. Their distinct appearance, characterized by a black cap and crest, sets them apart, creating a charismatic presence in the wetland landscape.

Both species play crucial roles in maintaining the ecological balance of the Viera Wetlands. The osprey’s fishing prowess helps control fish populations, while the crested caracara’s scavenging habits contribute to the cleanup of carrion, benefiting the overall health of the ecosystem. Together, these birds create a dynamic and interconnected web of life within the wetlands, showcasing the beauty and complexity of nature in action.

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