Thursday, June 11, 2009

Raptor Rescue

At least five pairs of osprey and a pair of bald eagles nested at Huntington Lake last summer. That’s a far cry from the year Sue and I met at Huntington Lake – 1977. It wasn’t until the next year, 1978, that I recall first seeing “the” osprey nest that appeared on a tall dead tree behind dam number two.

Sue loves to keep an eye on the osprey nests on our end of the lake from her little red Suzy Q kayak. Astute observers can discern the flight patterns, preferred fishing holes, regular observation roosts, and yes, even “personalities” of these magnificent birds. I love to watch them fish, circling overhead in concentric patterns and then diving on their prey, grasping the wriggling victim in sharp talons and flapping free of the water back to the sky from whence they came.

[Picture at right taken by by James A. Galletto]
© Copyright 2009 Smithsonian Institution

On Monday one of the Lakeview Cottages guests was out fishing in one of our newly “repowered” boats when he rescued one of our osprey. The bird became tangled up and injured when it caught a fish with fishing line attached. The fisherman covered the panicked bird with his jacket to calm it. The bird shredded his jacket with its sharp talons. He managed to calm the bird and get it into the boat with him. When he got back to the Cottages a group of interested guests helped cut the fishing line off the bird and to place the bird in one of the life vest storage lockers.

While other concerned osprey circled overhead crying out to their wounded kin, Mark placed four insistent calls to the Forest Service until he got connected to a “live person” to whom he could report the injured bird. Someone would be there soon, he was assured.

An hour and a half later, not one, not two, three or four, but five people showed up to take custody of the bird with the intention of nurturing it back to health for future release back to the wild. According to Mark, they were part of a non-profit group called “Raptor Rescue.” I googled Raptor Rescue and was astonished at the number of organizations dedicated to the rescue of wounded or troubled wildlife.

Yesterday Sue, nurse Debbie and four other of the ladies who have supported Sue through her cancer experience met to discuss Debbie’s vision to start a ministry response team to respond to the needs of the wounded people they know who are struggling with cancer. One should figure if a fisherman would put himself at risk and sacrifice his jacket for a distressed osprey, and if a half dozen people on vacation would also put themselves at risk to cut fishing line from the bird, and if Mark would make multiple insistent phone calls to get help for the bird, and if five volunteers would make a half day 140 mile round trip excursion on a Monday to rescue an osprey they never met, then surely every one of the local cancer stricken people we know should at least warrant a comparable response.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce and I have hiked to that tree with the nest. Good story! Janice Porter