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Invite an Osprey into your Family
I read to my kids each night, but this week, we read a book that really made a difference to us.
Wild Wings by Gill Lewis
The book is about two friends in Scotland who find an osprey. Ospreys are very rare there, so they try to keep the osprey a secret. But when it gets hurt, they must ask for help, and in the process they put a tracking device on the osprey. Via Google Earth, they can track the osprey on its migration to Africa, specifically to The Gambia. And I don’t want to give away any of the surprising plot points, so I won’t say more.
How an Osprey Brought Our Family Together
I started reading this book to my daughter Nora. Nearby, my husband and son worked on a puzzle. Often I read one book to Nora and one to my son Russell because they like different topics. But this time, the book was so interesting; soon I could see that all of them were listening.
The evenings passed. It has never happened that all four of us were completely enthralled with a book, and it felt very cozy. We would sit in the living room with only a few lamps on, feeling warm in the winter night.
We came to the final chapters. There was a part that was particularly moving (which I won’t give away) and I felt tears come to my eyes. I looked up at my husband and there were tears in his eyes too. I cry easily, but it was surprising to see this on my husband’s face. My kids were looking back and forth between us. I managed to read the book to the end.
When we looked at each other, this pause felt like a different type of “wildlife moment.” Our family spends time outside and cultivates our love of nature. But I realized this moment was special in its own way. Children remember and internalize values when their parents show vulnerability or pause. Life can be a rush of tasks and decisions. That look across our family told the perfect unspoken story.
Here is a related quote that I love:
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” — Hodding Carter, Jr.
I would suggest reading the book Wild Wings, or more importantly, slow down with those you love. It’s winter, it’s time to snuggle.
Osprey Activities for Your Family
- Purchase Wild Wings through this link and support National Wildlife Federation.
- Download this coloring page and fact sheet about ospreys.
- Check out this Ranger Rick Adventure comic when he learns about ospreys in the Everglades.
- At my kids’ school, the grade five class is watching osprey migrations via the DFYI Osprey project.
- Get tips on watching birds of prey during Hawk Watch each fall.
- Download this activity worksheet about birds of prey.
- Purchase a bird watching kit from National Wildlife Federation and support our work.
How NWF is Helping Ospreys:
- Chesapeake Bay- NWF works to protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, home to many ospreys.
- Gulf of Mexico – NWF works to address the BP Oil Spill in osprey habitat such as Bon Secour Refuge.
- Michigan – NWF works to address the Enbridge oil spill, which affected osprey habitat.
- North Carolina – NWF certified a Community Wildlife Habitat where they built osprey platforms.
- Tribal Lands – NWF’s Tribal Lands program works with tribes to protect osprey habitat, such as the White Mountain Apache.
What You Can Do for Ospreys:
Ospreys rely on healthy waterways for their diet of fish. Take action to protect America’s waterways for ospreys and other water-loving wildlife.
Information about Ospreys:
Osprey Photos from the 2011 National Wildlife® Photo Contest