A Lake Murray baby osprey’s bittersweet rescue

Falls out of manmade nest

At about 8 a.m. on June 5, a baby osprey fell out of its nest, situated near the two-mile mark on the path that goes around Lake Murray. A more-fortunate sibling managed to remain in the nest, which is perched on top of a tall SDG&E power pole.

The osprey nest was fabricated by SDG&E workers about 20 years ago, and it always had an osprey nesting in it, but never a baby osprey. It was believed that no baby osprey would ever be found in a manmade nest. When two ospreys were born there this year, lake bird-watchers were overjoyed.

The fallen bird was spotted on the fence below the nest. A crowd of people stood around watching it. Some women were sitting on a nearby bench crying. Everyone looked very concerned and sad. Soon, a city truck pulled up with lake workers Reuben and Leo. They had a birdcage and towels and proceeded to coax the bird into the cage. First, they needed to shield its eyes with the towels before it was gently pushed into a box.

Some people protested the rescue, of the belief that they should “leave nature alone.” The protesters believed that there was nothing wrong with the bird, that this falling out of the nest was just a process that all birds experience on their way to becoming full-fledged flying birds.

In fact, on June 3, KFMB/Channel 8 news did a report that called attention to the young osprey with “either a deformed or injured wing.” Bird-watcher Michael Madruga was interviewed, saying with certainty that the bird wouldn’t be able to fly. Alison Cook from Project Wildlife noted that the Migratory Bird Act prohibited any type of rescue while the bird was in the nest and still being cared for by its parents.

In the end, Project Wildlife did examine the osprey and it was found to have a scarred wing, which means that it will never fly. However, it will be living its life at a bird sanctuary.

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Wonderful story, Gloria! I know that you are a REAL PERSON and love nature as we all do. Thank you for this update. Great job.

Thanks for this report. I can't imagine how anyone could feel that a bird in this situation should be left alone to die. Great story. At the Chula Vista Nature Center (1000 Gunpowder Point Drive) there are wonderful birds that have been similarly rescued. Various types of beautiful owls and hawks, all rescued and unable to live in nature w/o help, are thrilling and educational to observe in their nice, large cages out doors.

There is a live videocam of an osprey nest in Montana; the camera sometimes pans around to show the other osprey perched on a distant tree or pole. The sound is great, too! Watch and enjoy these beautiful birds: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/27/Hellgate_Ospreys/

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