Trout for Dinner
1/2 Lifesize Osprey
Size: 16″ L X 16″W X 28″H
Growing up in Texas, I don’t recall seeing osprey. When I began my career as a forester in the Siskiyou Mountains of Northern California, they were common along the Klamath River. I began a fascination with the species that continues today. I continue to monitor and photograph nests every year, and enjoy having these birds around my home. Ospreys throughout the world are a single species, which is uncommon.
I was happy when a couple in McCall commissioned an osprey carving. Initially we planned for a lifesize carving, however the space where the piece would reside was simply too small, so the carving was done half-size. The carving sits next to a window that looks out on Payette Lake, where the owners frequently get to watch their own local ospreys as they fish. I chose to portray this bird just after landing on a rotting lodgepole pine branch with a rainbow trout. During the nesting season, male osprey often stop at a perch near the nest to eat the head of their catch before delivering the remainder to the nest. The bird usually stops at the same spot to eat, and the perch is sometimes referred to as a “pilot tree”.
I enjoyed carving both the perch and the fish for this piece. The lodgepole branch is carved and painted to show the delamination of the growth rings as rot progresses. Because the bird is half-size, the fish had to be reduced in the same proportion.