Monday, June 28, 2010

Osprey Rescue

Today Twan and I had a bit of an unfortunate adventure with a hopefully happy ending. Miley received a call that an Osprey was injured, rendered flightless, on Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport. This bird would die without help, and considering the temperature and the fact it had been seen in this state for more than a day, it likely had very little time left. Twan and I were at Stratford Point where we gathered what equipment we had – insect nets, gloves, a box, a towel, and tape – and headed to Long Beach. There is no way we would be able walk all the way down Long Beach, past the cottage area, and over to Pleasure Beach, capture then carry this Osprey all the way back to the parking lot. We needed to use the U.S. Fish and Wildlife temporary road, put in place to facilitate the removal of the decaying cottages on Long Beach West. I called the Stratford Police Department to ask them to open the gate to the road for us. They were very helpful and prompt, quickly allowing us access to the road. After receiving explicit permission from Stratford’s Conservation Administrator, Brian Carey, to traverse the beach to rescue the Osprey we were off.

Please understand that we, of all people, do not want to use this road. It is a danger and a hazard to the threatened nesting species Piping Plover and Least Tern, among other birds. As mentioned in a previous posting, Diamondback Terrapins also nest here. They can often be found on this road. However, saving this Osprey would not be possible otherwise. We drove down to the end of Long Beach very slowly and cautiously. Nothing was harmed or impacted in any way during this entire trip. What had been harmed by last week’s tornadic supercell thunderstorm were the many, possibly 8 or 12, active Osprey nests on the beach.

Half-destroyed nest.

Poles that used to have nests, one of which likely held this individual's.

Winds exceeding hurricane force strength had damaged or destroyed every nest, most of which are perched on old telephone poles. I discussed this in end of last week’s entry about the storm. It seems likely that this bird, an adult, was injured during this storm.

Downed and damaged trees.

Once we reached the end of Long Beach, we got out of the car and walked down the shore facing Lewis Gut and found the Osprey in relatively short order. It was absolutely sweltering on the beach. This poor bird had suffered enough. I took the following photo and video while watching over the bird as Twan went to get the car and our needed supplies. We were definitely not wasting any time getting it to relative safety. The distant photo shows it attempting to fly - unsuccessfully.

Covering our eyes for protection and to help confuse the bird to our intentions, we suited up and each took a net. We came at it from both sides to pin the Osprey between our nets, ensuring it stayed out of the water while unable to strike at us with its sharp talons. This picture is of me about to head towards it while Twan did the same.

It offered little resistance, flapping in the water while we closed in on it. I put my net under it to keep it from drowning while Twan held his on top. The talons became intertwined in the net, enabling Twan to take it by the legs.

We untangled it from the net and wrapped it up in a towel. We placed the bird in a box and taped it shut. This was almost unnecessary; it did not fight in the towel or the box, almost happy to be off the beach and knowing help was on the way.

Below you can see me on the phone trying to find a rehab center that could take the Osprey. Shortly after, we loaded the box in the car and headed back to Stratford Point.

We brought the bird inside to cool down a bit while still trying to find someone who could take in an injured raptor. Miley checked on the Osprey once it was inside.

Our friends at Wildlife in Crisis in Weston were able to receive it. We do not have the official condition of the individual yet. We will post it once we get word. The bird seemed to recover nicely while in the dark, safe box, out of the intense sun and heat. It was quite perky and bright-eyed only a couple hours later when it arrived in Weston. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be able to make a full recovery.

Photos 5, 6, and 11 © Twan Leenders; all other photos © Scott Kruitbosch

1 comment:

  1. Nice work guys and thank you both for your efforts.