Range. - Whole of temperate America from the Arctic circle south to the equator, most abundant along the sea coasts.
Real old birds have the head whiter, and less white edging to the back feathers, than do the young. Feet very strong, and very hard and rough, perfectly adapted to grasping slippery fish; outer toe can be used equally as well, either in front or behind, when perching or grasping their prey.
Probably this great fisherman is as well known from one end of the country to the other as any of our wild birds. He is protected by law in a great many states and by custom in nearly all localities where they breed. It is one of the pleasantest sights along the coast to watch a number of these great birds as they soar at an elevation above the water, watching for fish to come near the surface, when, with folded wings, the bird speeds downward and plunges into the water, rarely missing his prey. In many localities they are very tame and nest in the vicinity of houses, sometimes even in the yard. Their nests are platforms of sticks, which, being used year after year and constantly added to, become of enormous proportions. They lay two or three eggs of a bright creamy color, handsomely blotched with bright chestnut brown. They show a great diversity of size as well as markings, but average. 2.40 x 1.80.
OSPREY LEAVING NEST C. A. Reed.