Osprey renested with help from MIFD

Joanna Fitzgerald
Special to the Eagle
A male and female osprey fly overhead as Marco Island Fire-Rescue and the Conservancy approach their nest to return one of the ospreys’ chicks that had fallen to the ground. (Jessica Patel/Special to the Daily News)

A woman on Marco Island called the von Arx Wildlife Hospital after she found a young osprey on the ground at the property she was renting. The osprey chick was alert with no obvious external injuries noted when admitted.

The osprey’s condition was monitored over the following 24 hours; the osprey was responsive and strong and had a good appetite. Health wise, everything indicated the osprey hadn’t been hurt in the fall which allowed staff to plan for renesting.

The renesting was challenging to coordinate. The nest was at the top of a 70-foot Norfolk pine tree. Von Arx Wildlife Hospital volunteer and a Marco Island resident, Bruce Robertson, went to the site to assess the situation; one promising factor was that the nest tree was on the edge of the road so access to the tree with a bucket truck would be straightforward.

Marco Island Fire-Rescue on scene helping Conservancy volunteer, Tim Thompson, renest an osprey chick. (Jessica Patel/Special to the Daily News)

Staff from Bartlett Tree Experts eagerly offered to assist. Bartlett staff met Wildlife Hospital Volunteer, Tim Thompson (with the osprey), at the scene. Such a disappointment when, fully extended, the bucket was just about five feet too short to safely place the nestling in the nest. The osprey chick was returned to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital as theycontinued to work on another option.

Hospital staff checked with LCEC, who has helped with past renesting efforts on Marco; their largest truck was off the island and unavailable. A suggestion was made to contact the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department; that turned out to be the solution.

The following day the fire-rescue crew met Thompson on site and allowed him to ride in the bucket so he could place the nestling back in the nest. The osprey’s sibling hunkered down in the nest when the bucket reached nest level and the wayward chick was swiftly placed back in the nest. The disturbance at the nest stressed the two adult ospreys causing them to fly over the renesting crew the entire time.

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