August 12, 2012: Fledging and then Trouble

August 12, 2012: Fledging and then Trouble

Credit: Lacy

August 12, 2012: Fledging and then Trouble

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by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on August 12, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:17 AM

 

 

We have some bad news on the young osprey that folks have been watching these past several months. The bird finally fledged on Friday. We were growing more concerned as the osprey passed 70 days of age.. .nearly three weeks older than the age of osprey when they can typically take their first flights.  While osprey can push fl edging into August, with each passing day, the time period for them to perfect their hunting and flying skills before their fall migration gets shorter and shorter. This osprey seemed particularly lethargic for such an old nestling.

On Freida we got at least a partial answer. The osprey took his first flight unfortunately into a fence that had been set-up for the greenway construction. After seeing him spend some time on the ground, the work crews and residents of South Waterfront contacted both Audubon and Mult Co. Animal Services. MCAS was first on the scene and transported him to Audubon.

The young osprey has a combination of problems, some developmental and others apparently associated with the collision with the fence. Perhaps most significant is a beak abnormality that appears to be a developmental problem. The beaks appears unstable and deformed. We are consulting with some experts but this type of deformity may be beyond our ability to repair. In addition the osprey appears to have some difficulty standing for extended periods, has a significant soft tissue injury to one of his wings and a significant injury to one of his eyes. We are running a battery of tests and radiographs to determine the scope of the injuries and whether there are additional problems. We are also consulting with some outside experts on the beak.

Adding to these challenges is the fact that he is going to miss the absolutely critical fledgling process with his parents. Even if he is repairable, his parents will likely be heading out on migration by the time he would potentially be set free. Unlike some birds of prey that can learn to hunt  rodents and birds in flight cages, the high dives of osprey after fish are very difficult to replicate in captivity. If he were still in the wild right now he would practicing and learning his flying and hunting skills from his parents while still receiving supplemental fish from them--a process that takes several weeks to complete.

The overall prognosis is very poor. We will know more in the coming days, but the injuries alone and together are all very challenging and they come at a very bad time in his life cycle. We will continue to update his condition at this site.

Sorry to have to report the bad news.

Bob

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