In Smith Mountain Lake State Park, there is a nest of Ospreys, and there is a video cam set-up in order that whoever wished to follow the progress of the mom, dad, and three babies could do so. The nest sits high in the top story of a large tree.
Ospreys are raptors [meat eaters] whose principle diet is fish. Mom and dad both bring food to the babies, then, when the ‘littles’ have fledged [jumped out of the nest to the ground], the parents continue their education. One of the lessons in this curriculum is, of course, how to fish. [Driving to the local seafood store is not an option.]
It was in the morning of July 5th, 2013, the morning following, being the celebratory eve of July 4th [read: fireworks, etc.] cam watchers were appalled to notice that the nest had suffered some damage, and that the three babies, there the day before, were gone!
Rescuers were sent to search through waist-high grass, and, late that evening discovered two ‘chicks.’ [As of this writing, the fate of the third baby is unknown. It is hoped, however, that since he was the largest of the three, he may have successfully fledged and flown off.]
Sabrina got the word after dark that the two rescued Osprey were on their way to her sanctuary. She knows how difficult it is to rehab baby Osprey – and they are federally protected – so she placed a call, even before the chicks arrived here, for prompt transportation to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, near Afton Mountain, about one and one half hours away.
Upon their arrival, we examined them immediately. Even as chicks, they stand some fourteen inches tall, with talons and beaks that brook no carelessness. We found dehydration, and evidence of early fly infestation, an eventually fatal affliction if not treated.
We combed out such of the flies as we could find, and gave them fluids; this by slipping a needle into a redundant flap of skin near their groin, and administering Lactated Ringers solution. Sabrina also “gavaged” them with food. This is a practice where appropriate, age-specific diet is administered directly into the crop via an expertly controlled metal tube. [Baby Osprey are impossible to feed any other way.]
Their transporter arrived on time and hurried them to the Wildlife Center.
The center’s response was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Having tended to the flies, their hydration, and their nutrition, they arranged for the birds to be quickly transported back to Smith Mountain Lake [maybe two hours away.] They sent two vets, and arranged for a ‘cherry picker’ truck, such as the power company uses for high altitude work.
The two vets re-nested the two youngsters, threw in some fish, then ducked down, so if a parent came back to look for the babies, the vets would not frighten them off.
Within an hour mom was back; within three hours dad was back with fish. All caught on the cam-corder.
Sometimes the best laid plans actually work!
Look for Lucky’s books locally and on-line: The Oath of Hippocrates; The Cotillian; A Journey Long Delayed; Campfire Tales; Sabonics; MORE CAMPFIRE TALES; GROWING UP IN STEPHENTOWN; ANIMAL ARCHIVES
SEE SABRINA’S WILDLIFE WEBSITE: FACEBOOK.COM/SWVA WILDLIFE