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!
When I was out at the Wildlife Center on a Sunday in July, Pam DeFouw asked me when I might be returning to the Keys. Turned out they had a black masked booby that needed to be released near the Dry Tortugas. Several months earlier, he had been found washed up on the shore in Venice in very poor health. After many months he was nursed back to health and the nearest colony was determined to be near the Dry Tortugas. I thought about it for a minute and suggested I email some charter boats that operate near that area and went home and did just that, not really expecting to get any replies. Well, did I get a surprise; I sent seven emails and each one responded with a willingness to help. Capt. Greg Mercurio of the Yankee Capts Charters out of Key West responded within ve minutes! He was not only willing to take the bird, but me as well free of charge. I was to call the o ce when I was ready and I would be able to go on the next available trip. I contacted Pam the next morning; all the paperwork was in order. At 11:00 AM that morning I called to set up the trip and
low and behold, they had a ship leaving that night at 8:00 PM! They commented the only problem was that it was a three day trip; though this was certainly NOT a problem for me. I picked up “Bobby” the booby and headed for Key West arriving around 6:00 PM that evening. Although I had a sh in Bobby’s crate all day Monday, he didn’t eat. When I awoke before daylight the next morning and checked on him the sh was gone. I gave him four more sh and he ate them right up; I felt he knew he was going on a journey. As soon as it was daylight I got him ready for release and he gave me a nice bite on the hand as if to say goodbye. I tossed him o the top deck and watched as he ew to the east in search of freedom; then he made a sharp turn to the south and was headed to his destination, it was absolutely incredible. While watching him with binoculars until I couldn’t see him anymore I couldn’t help but feel great joy as he disappeared. This bird was near death and after great care and work by the rehab sta and all the volunteers at the Wildlife Center of Venice, he was given a second chance to once again become a free bird. I spent the next three days on the boat with a big smile and loads of satisfaction for being able to have helped in this birds’ journey back to the wild.
WCV's Mission Statement: To protect and preserve Southwest Florida's native wildlife through educational outreach, and to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned wildlife to their native habitat whenever possible.