Saturday, June 23, 2007

'Osprey cam' leads to rescue

It wasn't exactly like rescuing a cat from a tree for the Milford Fire Department, but it was close.
Or call him one lucky baby osprey. This bird's particular problem was first picked up by a Connecticut Audubon Society "osprey cam" watcher in Maryland.
"We do cats in trees, swans on ice. We take care of animals," said battalion chief Brad Ross. The fire department's rescue unit provided a ladder long enough Saturday afternoon to rescue a month-old osprey entangled in bubble wrap in its platform nest near Milford Point. "We got a call about bubble wrap stuck on one of the babies," Ross said of the 1 p.m. report. "We called in a ladder truck to bring in an extra long ladder, and it did the job. I didn't know you could see this bird from all over the world." Ken Elkins, director of education at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point, said he got a call from a Maryland resident who saw the bird's problem on the Internet. A small television camera shows real time activity on the nest both through a television monitor at the center and on the Internet LINK
"He said he tried e-mail in the inquiry but the mailbox was full," Elkins said. "We hear from people all the time who like to watch the nest on the Web." Ospreys are also called fish hawks and are slightly smaller than eagles. Like eagles, they were an endangered species in the 1950s and 1960s due to DDT spray causing fragile eggs to crack when females sat on them. But the birds have been making a comeback since DDT has been banned.
Two young birds on the osprey cam nest are being cared for by a mother and father osprey that circled nervously during the rescue operation but returned to them once it was over. "I ran back into our TV monitor and saw the problem," Elkins said. "The bird somehow got tangled in bubble wrap and kept falling every time he stepped on it. We weren't sure if he was being strangled but we had to do something." The center did not have a ladder long enough to reach the platform, so the fire department was called. The rescue operation consisted of two canoes from the center pulling a rubber Zodiac boat carrying the 20-foot ladder 100 yards out to the platform nest perched on a small island. Matt Hoyt, former CAS animal handler helping as a marsh canoe trip volunteer, climbed the ladder and cut off the offending wrap in several seconds, all covered the on the osprey cam TV monitor. "It was uneventful," said Hoyt, a science teacher at Wilton High School. "The bird was entangled and was exhausted by stepping on the wrap. It definitely looked relieved after I cut it." Frank Gallo, CAS coastal education director, said a dozen calls came into the center from Internet watchers, and he appreciated their concern. "We certainly thank the Milford Fire Department and the people who took the time to call," Gallo said.

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Biby Cletus said...
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