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What is a 'seahawk'?

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The 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII will feature the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. When most people think of Denver’s mascot, the bronco, they see images of an unruly, unbroken horse bucking and fighting. It’s also a term that is used, interchangeably, for a wild horse or mustang. But, people outside of Seattle might not know exactly what a seahawk is. It sounds intimidating, as most visions of hawks and other raptors often are, but is it a real thing?

Seahawks are actually fairly common in San Diego and in many other areas of the country. Many people see them every day in areas such as Mission Bay, Lake Murray, or the San Diego Bay areas among other areas. But, they may not know it as a seahawk, but an osprey. Seahawk is one of several nicknames for this fishing hawk which don’t always live near the seashore, but often near fresh waters.

Ospreys are large, brown, and white hawks that specialize in eating fish. In fact, ospreys rarely eat anything else unless they have no choice. These raptors are expert fishers and are successful more often than not. However, they are frequent targets for gulls and eagles to steal their catch. Ospreys are often fearless, especially during breeding season when they are protecting their nest. They are also good providers and nurturers to their chicks. One can often see osprey nesting on power poles and man-made platforms near waterways.

Some say there is no such thing as a seahawk, that it is a made-up word that sounds good when it’s paired up with the word “Seattle”. But, if you look at the Seattle Seahawk’s logo, the design of the bird looks very much like an osprey, but with a heavier bill and fierce look in its eye. Ospreys are also known by other names such as “fish hawk” or “fish eagle”.

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