Photo by Mike Hollan
An osprey admitted to the Raptor Center at the end of August, 2020 was captured in a most unlikely place, in the middle of the street in front of an auto repair shop in the heart of North Bend. These large, diurnal birds with their 5-foot wingspan are usually seen flying gracefully above rivers or lakes or a body of water, but in this case it was found at night with no water nearby.
The initial examination showed the bird was in good body condition, weighing in at a healthy weight of over 3 and one-half pounds, and, fortunately, with no evidence of trauma. Sporting orangish-yellow eyes, we knew it was an immature bird which hatched this spring. Like other inexperienced birds which hatch and begin to find their way in the world, this osprey’s inexperience got it into trouble. Without finding a spot to roost for the night, it ended up on the ground and in a dangerous situation.
Fortunately, caring people found the bird and were able to capture it. From there, the Raptor Center was able to give the osprey safe haven, letting it fly in our flight enclosure with grace and ease until its release two days later. Osprey are notorious for being difficult eaters in captive situations. So, we enlisted the help of a volunteer, Joe Lucas, to supply us with some live, wiggling fish to entice it to eat. The osprey was banded by volunteer Jeff Hays and released at East Fork Lake where it immediately took off and flew across the lake and out of sight.
Usually that is the end of the story, but in this case a local photographer, Mike Hollan, was able to capture the banded osprey on film a few days later. After ospreys hatch and disperse from their nesting grounds, they eventually make their way south to Central or South America. Unlike most migratory birds, the immature osprey, with their orange eyes, will return two years later with the bright yellow eyes of an adult.