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

Osprey catching fish
My friend Helen took this photo near Sanibel Island, located off the west coast of Florida.
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

How NWF is Helping Ospreys:

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

See more osprey photos from the photo contest.

Osprey catching fish


Osprey family in nest


Osprey flies


Osprey feeds chick


Osprey catches fish in tide, Maine