|An Osprey. Listed on the TWRA site as one of the 100 common birds of Tennessee|
Yesterday, while walking with the family, I spotted a bird fishing near a dam. I didn't recognize it right away but that is not a big surprise. I can only recognize a few birds of prey from a distance. We all stopped to watch it fly along the edges of the river spotting fish, climb to a point, hover a moment with a few beats of its wings, and then dive for its prey. The river was just out of our line of sight over the bank, so we'd wait to see if it had a fish when it returned from its strike. Out of four attempts it got nothing and flew off over the dam away from us.
We were all a bit disappointed not to have seen it catch a fish, but then, that's life: unedited and real. Nature shows, documentaries, and youtube clips are not representative of life. Life is struggling, trying, missing, and even giving up before struggling, trying, and missing again! But, in order to live, that bird has to keep on trying and win enough times to not only survive, but to thrive. So must we all.
My daughter went to get a book on bird identification as soon as we got home. I had left my camera behind so we wanted to check the references while our memories were fresh. She was confused because the birds listed for our areas didn't include the one we saw. We both thought the bird looked like an osprey, but they were listed as costal birds. I googled "Tennessee and osprey" and found the TWRA and TWA have been introducing them into TN since the 1980's. They are listed as one of the 100 common birds of Tennessee but are rare to sight. Mystery solved.