Conserve Wildlife Blog

The Inspiring Story of Osprey 39/D

July 13th, 2016

A promising outcome from a dangerous situation

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Yesterday evening, while conducting an osprey nest survey at Sedge Island Wildlife Management Area, I received a message from a local wildlife photographer about an osprey nestling that was entangled. I talked to the photographer, Rich Nicol and got detailed information about the situation, the nest, and started to formulate a plan to address the situation. After learning that the nest was on a 35-40’ high pole, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get up there without some help. Yes – a large ladder would suffice, but it would be tricky to handle the situation (with the bird being entangled). You see, after seeing photos of the young osprey, I knew it was RTF (Ready To Fly). Ospreys fledge or take their first flight at around 7-8 weeks of age. The entangled osprey was around 7 weeks old. I knew we had to act quickly to catch the bird and untangle it before it tried to fledge. This morning I saw the photos that Rich took and it clearly showed that the young osprey had monofilament or a net around its neck…

Today, after banding two young ospreys at Island Beach State Park (and streaming it live on Facebook), I contacted Jeanne Lennon with JCP&L. They have equipment that would prove to the critical to the rescue of this young osprey. Jeanne and I talked and JCP&L would be sending down a troubleman to check out the site. I met them there and checked it out as well. After confirming that the osprey was still entangled and seeing the location/height of the platform, we knew we needed a bigger bucket truck with at least a 40’ boom. An hour later another truck came. In it were John and Joe, who were eager to help me rescue the young osprey. I explained how delicate of a rescue this was, since the bird had the line around its neck.

Watch as we use the bucket truck to access the nest, grab and free the osprey and then band it for future tracking:

As you can see the osprey was successfully captured and untangled from the gill net that was around its neck. While I had it I knew that I would band it for future tracking. Since 2014 we have been banding young ospreys who originate at nests on Barnegat Bay for Project RedBand. Project RedBand is an osprey re-sighting project meant to engage the public in osprey management and conservation along the Jersey Shore. While engaging the public, us biologists will also learn about their dispersal, foraging habits, site fidelity, migration routes, and their life span since the bands are field readable. Birders, photographers, and Osprey Watchers are encouraged to look out of red banded ospreys (always on their right leg) and report sightings on our website. This is the first year that red banded ospreys have returned to NJ, and we have already gotten a few re-sightings, so forget Pokémon! 🙂

We’d like to thank Rich for being an avid Osprey Watcher and alerting us to the situation. Jeanne L., John, and Joe with JCP&L for providing us with the means to rescue this beautiful young osprey. We wouldn’t have been able to save this young osprey without their help. Thank you!

Lastly, please consider donating to Conserve Wildlife Foundation to support our Osprey Project. We get no direct funding from the state or federal government, so your contribution will help us help New Jersey’s ospreys! Thank you!

Learn more about our Osprey Project:

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14 Responses to “The Inspiring Story of Osprey 39/D”

  1. Debbie Hansen says:

    Great rescue job! Thanks to all of you!

  2. Wow! Excellent job by Conserve Wildlife, Ben Wurst and Joe from JCP&L! Beautiful in every way. Thanks for sharing too!

  3. Ben says:

    Thank you! It was our pleasure!

  4. Ben says:

    Thank you! Yes, we hope 39/D lives a long and fruitful life!

  5. Linda Barczyn says:

    You guys rock! Thank you so much for rescuing this wonderful bird.

  6. Sharlene R says:

    Another Great Job by Ben Wurst of Conserve Wildlife and thank you Joe from JCP&L! Enjoy your freeflight 39D!

  7. Amy Jarratt says:

    Thank you so much !Live long & prosper 39D !!

  8. Virginia Henkaline says:

    Amazing rescue. Congratulations. You are heroes and I hope you will get to follow this little guy for years to come.

  9. Lisa says:

    Great Save!! So happy for the outcome for this wonderful young Osprey

  10. Lorri says:

    Many, many thanks to you – Ben, Rich, Jeanne, Joe, and John. What an awesome, inspiring effort! Go 39D!

  11. Jan Kegg says:

    Thank you!

  12. Diane Rooney says:

    Thank you Ben and your associates with the bucket truck for this amazing rescue and for saving the life of this young osprey.

  13. AF-England says:

    Well done guys, good job, thanks for helping the Osprey

  14. Linda Gilmore says:

    That you for all the work you do to protect these wonderful birds. Never ending.

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