Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the Field

June 13th, 2011

Stranded osprey gets helping hand

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

I’ve been off work for the past week to spend some time with the newest member of my family, Reed Alexander Wurst. I was planning on heading into the office today to play catch up with a lot of projects that I’ve involved with (having a baby during field season is definitely keeping me busy!). So I started the day by opening up my laptop to download the 90+ emails I’ve gotten in the past week. As I sat down for some breakfast I saw an email from a woman where the subject said “Osprey on our Sailboat and we need help!” Immediately after I saw that I thought, there goes heading into the office… The woman who contacted me was Melissa, who was living on her sailboat that was moored in the harbor at Barnegat Light (BL). She sent me an image and this is what she wrote:

“We read your story in the SandPaper so are contacting you about this situation.

We heard a loud noise around 1am and when we looked with the flashlight we saw this osprey. It tried to fly up and out w/o success and now that it’s light we can see blood and it’s appears that his/her wing is injured.

We are anchored at Barnegat Light across from the town boat ramp. Our boat is Piscator and is the 32′ white and green double-ender.

We have no way to deal with handling this osprey, so really need help!! “

An injured osprey on the deck of s/v Piscator in Barnegat Light, NJ. © Ben Wurst

I called Melissa and I headed up to BL. I met John at the boat ramp and we rode out to the s/v Piscator in his dingy. After the short ride I saw that that osprey had a fracture to it’s left wing in the carpal (wrist) joint. I carefully collected the osprey and saw that she was banded. I looked up the band (788-49090) and she was banded in Sandy Hook on June 30, 2009. This would be her first year back from her wintering areas to breed in New Jersey. Ospreys spend two years after fledging in their wintering areas. One positive aspect is that most two year old birds do not raise young their first year after returning to nest in areas where they originated. So, no young ospreys are dieing b/c of her injury.

I then called Don Bonica with Toms River Avian Care and transported the osprey to Barnegat Animal Clinic where it would temporarily stay. I don’t know if it will heal from its wounds. Ospreys don’t do well in captivity or in rehabilitation settings. I can only hope that its fracture is minor and that it heals quickly!

Melissa knew who to contact after reading a story about my work with ospreys in New Jersey, especially the B. Bay Watershed in The Sandpaper. The story is viewable online until Wednesday, June 15th.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.