It took a team to make it happen, but a South Okanagan Osprey is back with its family after injuring itself at the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre.
“The juvenile osprey landed on a teepee in our outdoor gallery and its leg was wedged between two teepee poles. I had gone up a 20 foot ladder and had about a 15-foot long stick trying to dislodge it but I couldn’t reach it,” said Barbara Sabyan, event co-ordinator at the centre located in Osoyoos. “It happened on the August long weekend so there wasn’t many people around to assist but I made the call to the Osoyoos Fire Department and they were kind enough to come with the proper equipment and a ladder high enough to reach the bird from above.”
The osprey was then taken to the South Okanagan Veterinary Hospital because with an evacuation alert due to the wildfire, SORCO raptor rehabilitation centre had transferred all their birds to safer locations just in case they had to vacate the premises. The vet clinic then suggested that the bird be taken to the Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre, which provides vet services for the Kamloops Wildlife Park.
“It definitely took several parties to make this happen, especially over a long weekend. Penticton Conservation Officer Dave Cox drove the bird to Merritt and met a colleague who is also a CO and then that person drove the bird to the centre. Fortunately, the osprey did not have any fractures just soft tissue damage. However, the bird wasn’t able to retract its talons and it wouldn’t perch or be able to supply itself with food,” said Sabyan.
While Sabyan said osprey don’t tend to do well in captivity, luckily the bird’s stay at the rehabilitation centre was short.
“It was imperative that this bird was healed up and back into the wild as soon as possible because soon it will face a very long migration and they do that independently, not in a flock like many other birds. It was imperative to get it healthy so its stamina could get built up,” she said.
By Aug. 15 the osprey was transferred back to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, where the nest is located, and released.
“It was amazing. The bird flew immediately when released and soared for a good 15 minutes before finally perching on the nest. It was so rewarding to witness this. We have since seen all four of this osprey family together. The two juvenile’s and two adults were spotted in the nest and are still an intact family,” said Sabyan.
Grateful for the support network the centre has, Sabyan said it was also just a natural instinct to do anything she could to help the injured bird.
“When you find an injured animal, most people feel a responsibility to do something about it. Once you get a lot of like-minded people together, you know they are going to continue to work to get help for the creature. It was truly a fulfilling and rewarding experience to see all parties involved working together to give this bird the best opportunity to heal and get back into the wild,” said Sabyan.
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