Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best

Happy Monday Everyone!

Ozzie is free! Last night, Facebook messages concerning Ozzie were pouring in like crazy. Ozzie was tangled in monofilament fishing line that had been brought back to the nest by either Tom or Audrey. The night was very windy, dark (most nights tend to be) and the tide was high, so there was no way for us to safely get out to the nest. We decided to check the situation the next morning when it was light.

This morning when we checked the camera, Ozzie still had the line wrapped around her legs. A decision was made to attempt a human rescue. In preparation for the rescue, COM ground the points off a pair of scissors so he wouldn’t accidently harm Ozzie. Jeff from the Chesapeake Conservancy had volunteered to help if needed and arrived at our house around 7:45 am. For those of you who missed it, around 8 am, the osprey rescue commenced. COM and Jeff waded out in the water, which was 3 ½ feet deep. They were carrying a 14 foot stepladder, which they put up in the water near the pole. COM uses the stepladder for various osprey related missions. I was waiting near the nest in my Boston Whaler with a crab net. We were afraid that Ozzie was going to be frightened and try to fly off. Since she had never flown before, there was a possibility that she would land in the water. Mrs. COM was waiting on the dock, taking photos and videos, while ready to assist if needed.

COM waded back to the dock to get his supplies and put on his anti osprey gear. Decked out in his government issue field jacket, leather gloves, safety glasses, and hardhat, COM waded back to the ladder where Jeff was waiting. COM also brought a bucket out to Jeff in case they needed to transport Ozzie. Carefully, COM climbed the ladder while Jeff held it in place. When he got to the top of the ladder, COM found that Ozzie was on the opposite side of the nest, which made her almost beyond reach.

COM assessing the situation

COM assessing the situation

As COM was pondering what to do, he noticed that the other end of the fishing line was on his side of the nest. He gradually pulled Ozzie towards him using the line that was within reach (you can probably see that in the osprey cam video). Also looking at the video, you can see that there was line wrapped around both of Ozzie’s legs. While COM was pulling Ozzie toward him, the line slipped from one of Ozzie’s legs. COM quickly realized that by cutting only one line, Ozzie would be freed from the tangled monofilament. Using the pair of specially modified scissors, he cut the line and Ozzie was free.

COM cutting  the monofilament

COM cutting the monofilament

COM started his descent when Jeff asked if there was any line left in the nest. Back up the ladder he went! Finding no more line, the rescue was complete. Before climbing down the ladder for the final time, COM took 20 seconds to savor the moment and appreciate the beautiful young bird.

Ozzie's face is priceless

Ozzie’s face is priceless

Then he snapped out of his daze and realized that he was, in fact, 14 feet in the air, face to face with an animal who would be glad to attack him.

Although the actual rescue only took around 40 seconds; the preparation was what took the most time. Thank you all for alerting us to Ozzie’s manmade predicament. We are glad that our family and the Conservancy were able to save Ozzie from what could have been a terrible situation.

Here is the line that COM cut from Ozzie:

Monofilament line cut from Ozzie

Monofilament line cut from Ozzie

Our photo contest winner this week is:

Jamie on the TV set in Silver Spring, Maryland

Jamie on the TV set in Silver Spring, Maryland

Jerry and Erik at the traffic center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Jerry and Erik at the traffic center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Adios Amigos, until next time,
Osprey Girl