Back in December we received a call from a couple living in the Eagles neighborhood of Odessa, Florida. The couple had found an osprey that was grounded and appeared to be emaciated and depressed. Our federally permitted rehabber, Kris, was able to quickly arrive at the couples property and assess the animal. The bird was visibly thin and in very poor condition. After the initial intake assessment it was determined that the bird did suffer from a broken wing.
The bird was scheduled to go in and visit with the vet at Busch Gardens Tampa early the next day. Once the bird arrived at Busch Gardens he received a full examination including x rays which revealed that the bird had in fact been shot. This was our second bird in one week to have been shot. This was very upsetting news to couple would found the bird. After meeting with a local Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement officer the couple decided that they were going to start an account in order to offer a reward to anyone providing information to catch the assailant. News of this incident quickly spread throughout their community. Numerous people stepped forward contributing money to the reward account and helping spread the word with flyers newsletters and social media to try and catch whoever shot this bird. Meanwhile the vets did not have high hopes for the osprey. Not only was he suffering from the wing break but he had clearly been grounded for quite some time which meant he was unable to fish and had become severely emaciated. His body had actually begun to atrophy, meaning that virtually his body had begun to digest itself. The volunteers at Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife and their fellow cooperating federally permitted rehabbers we’re not going to give up that easily though. They band together and signed up for multiple feeding times each day. Just like when we don’t feel good we’re not eager to eat and this osprey was no different. He needed quite a bit of ‘encouraging’ in order to get back up on his feet and eating on his own. Volunteers signed up to feed him up to four meals each day so that he could make a come back.
Finally after gaining almost 200 grams he was ready to try and fly again. He was sent to Riverview to our favorite Falconer Rick Foley at Rick’s Raptor Rescue to be creance tested. Rick ran three tests with the osprey to make sure that without a doubt he was strong enough and ready for release.
After three great flights he was given the all clear and returned to the very neighborhood in which he was discovered. The gentleman who called in for his rescue was invited to attend and watch his release in person.
At this point they have still not been able to determine who was responsible for bringing the osprey to the ground but at this point we have returned him to the sky. His bank account is still there and still available for people to donate to if they would like to increase the reward and help encourage finding this osprey’s shooter. You’re also more than welcome to make a donation in his honor to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife so that we can continue doing our work and helping animals who have been the victims of human impact or natural causes. We wouldn’t be able to be successful and save all the animals we do without our donors and supporters like you.
If you happen to find any wildlife in trouble please make sure you report it to a permitted rescue organization like Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. Your donation to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife helps us to continue our work to conserve and protect wildlife in the Tampa Bay Area. And make sure to follow our blog to stay up to date on our cases! You can also now follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And subscribe to our new YouTube Channel.