Press-Republican

Environment

June 1, 2013

Osprey takes wing

AKWESASNE — An osprey struck by a car found eager humans ready to help.

The bird, a type of large hawk that lives along rivers, lakes and sea so they can feast on their main diet of fish, swooped into danger early on May 8 in the vicinity of St. Regis and Johnson roads in the Akwesasne Territory. 

St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police responded to a call about the injured bird, which at first was thought to be an eagle because it was so large, according to a news release from Akwesasne.

The osprey was unable to fly.

With no tribal conservation unit of its own, police contacted the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne on the Canadian side of the border.

Conservation Officers Taylor Mitchell and Josh Mitchell took the bird to the Wild Bird Care Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. 

“The conservation officers were familiar with the center, as they’d previously taken an injured Canadian goose there,” the release said.

“Luckily, (the osprey) had only sustained bruising from the accident and had been initially too stunned to fly away.” 

CONCERN FOR EGGS

The center kept the bird for two weeks, nursing it back to health.

Wild Bird Care Centre employees believed the osprey was a female due to its size, as they are typically larger than males.

There was some concern that the bird may have had to abandon eggs or its young while in captivity, but center staff thought it was still too early in the mating season for that to be the case. 

Also, female and male share parenting responsibilities, so it was likely the father bird would have taken care of eggs or offspring during the mother’s two weeks away.

 EFFORTLESS FLIGHT

Osprey, easily identifiable by their brown-and-white coloring and large wingspan, have a significant presence in Akwesasne as one of the area’s largest birds of prey.

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