A Swift Lift: A Rescue Story

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by Peg Magee

The call came to the Wildlife Center dispatcher on a Friday, from Susanne, in Gran Paradiso, reporting an adult osprey with a broken wing. While it could not y, it had made its way from the location where it was rst spotted, to a mound of dirt several unpaved streets over in an area under construction in the new development. Amazing that the injured bird was discovered!

When I arrived at the community to rescue the bird, Susanne and her husband met me at the entrance, and escorted me to the spot where they had last seen the injured bird. No osprey on the mound! Looking around the area, I noticed a construction trench, with a conduit pipe in it, the deepest part being square, and about 2 1⁄2 feet deep. And there was our osprey, trapped, and unable to y or climb out.

At this point, we had attracted a small gathering of interested parties, encouraging and wanting to help. I believed my best option was to climb down into the trench with a short-handled net to contain and secure the bird, and a towel to then wrap around his head and wings when I could remove the net. It worked! My only problem was how to get myself out; holding the animal, I could not use my hands to bolster myself up.

At that moment a construction engineer walked over, and immediately, seeing the predicament, instructed me to “ just turn around, ma’am, with your back to me, and I will lift you right up by your elbows.” “Really?” “Yup. Just turn around.” I did, and he did— right up and out—me and osprey together! I told him triumphantly that he made my day! My helpful hero was both clever, and strong!

Yes, the wing was broken, osprey transported to our faithful vet Dr. Don Swerida, wing pinned, and hope for the best. He thanks all of you who cared!