The Osprey entangled in baling twine

The Osprey entangled in baling twine

On May 18th, TRC had already admitted two injured raptors when the call came in about an Osprey hanging by baling twine in its nest in Victor, ID. A citizen noticed the struggling Osprey during a little league baseball game in the field below the nest. TRC called Teton County Fire and Rescue for help and they immediately came to the rescue. A mom who was coordinating the baseball game called an intermission so that all the kids could watch the rescue unfold.

I went up with the two firefighters in the bucket to the nest and retrieved the bird. They also cut down a second, less fortunate, Osprey that had perished while hanging by twine. Once we had safely retrieved the living bird, the firefighters cut all the hanging baling twine from the nest. The kids helped pick up all the scraps of twine, and learned an important lesson about the dangers facing Ospreys in the wild.


Firefighters take Meghan up in "the bucket" to rescue the Osprey

Firefighters take Meghan up in "the bucket" to rescue the Osprey

Some of our readers might be wondering, “What the heck is baling twine?” Farmers use baling twine to tie hay bales. If the twine is left out in the field when the bales are cut open, Ospreys will use it to build their nests. Ospreys love to gather baling twine and fishing line, not realizing that they are putting themselves and their chicks in grave danger. The good news is that these entanglements are nearly one hundred percent preventable by properly disposing of used baling twine and fishing line. We hope that by sharing this bird’s story will help keep these dangerous filaments out of the environment.

Back at TRC, we evaluated the Osprey's injuries. She was not badly hurt, but her foot was swollen and cramped from hanging by the twine. After a few days on anti-inflammatories and in a supportive ball wrap bandage, the Osprey’s foot was good as new. She was released at her nest site on May 22nd with a small crowd of well-wishers.

Meghan with the Osprey, safely on the ground

Meghan with the Osprey, safely on the ground

Spring is the busiest time of year for rehab and rescues. With an increase in people, nesting birds, and all of the migratory raptors back in the area, we admit new birds into rehab every week, but we can’t do it alone. We wouldn’t have gotten to this Osprey without the help of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Teton County Fire and Rescue firefighters or the concerned citizens who saw the Osprey in trouble and called. And we would not be able to provide top-notch care to this suffering bird without the support of our many donors and volunteers. Join the TRC team by volunteering or donating today!

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