The death of a baby osprey highlights the danger of litter | News, Sports, Jobs – FORT MYERS




With the help of CROW staff, Fort Myers Beach Firefighter Eric Cook, Driving Engineer Alex Gonzalez, Lt. Shaun Jensen and Battalion Chief Terry Brunson helped facilitate the removal of plastic and other waste from an osprey nest where a baby osprey suffocated and was lifted a CROW staff member to the nest to carry a displaced osprey chick to the nest.

It’s been a tough few weeks for a family of ospreys on the beach in Fort Myers.

On the property of the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on the beach in Fort Myers, a pair of ospreys have been active in a nest for more than a decade. A camera in the parking lot monitors them, as do others watching the hotel’s Nest stream online.

Two eggs hatched recently but one of the chicks did not survive. The baby bird may have suffocated from the plastic that was used to help build the nest by its parents.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (CROW) was called by the hotel and others. “We have received many calls about anthropogenic waste in the osprey nest,” CROW’s director of public relations and marketing, Haillie Mesics, said in an email. “One of the chicks had already passed away and it was feared the second chick was struggling among the rubbish.”

Among the trash picked up by the osprey while building its nest was a flop-flop of a child, a few pairs of socks, plastic bags, rope, plastic lipstick tubes, rubber and other apparel, Mesics said.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic was caring for this nestling osprey, which fell from its nest on Captiva, and turned it over to an osprey couple on the beach in Fort Myers.

CROW received permission from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to enter the nest to remove trash, retrieve the deceased chick and perform a life and welfare check on the second chick, Mesics said.

According to CROW, the time had come to introduce another nested osprey to the nest to replace the deceased chick. A few days earlier on Captiva, a nestling osprey fell from its nest into the water and was admitted to CROW. “Upon admission, hospital staff noted crackling sounds in the baby bird’s air sacs and labored breathing, leading them to suspect that it may have been aspirating water.” , he added. CROW announced.

“Since the (fallen) Osprey’s nest was above water and inaccessible, our hospital staff made the decision to raise the chick in the Pink Shell Fort Myers Beach nest,” it said. he adds. Mesics said.

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department was called. The service transported the organization’s wildlife rehabilitation officer to the nest in a fire truck bucket where she removed the trash and the dead chick. A life check was performed on the surviving osprey chick and it was placed back into the nest with its new adoptive sibling – the one who had fallen off Captiva a few days earlier.

The parents then returned to the nest with food for the chicks. “There was a short adjustment period for the new family, but later in the afternoon the two chicks were observed to be fed again,” Mesics said. The adoptive nest was larger than the osprey chick that was born in the nest.

This young osprey was rescued near Fish-Tale Marina on Fort Myers beach after falling while trying to fly out of its nest recently, said International Osprey Foundation lifeguard Jennifer Rusk. Photo provided

Bill Waichulis, who manages the Pink Shell Resort as senior vice president of operations for Boykin Hospitality Management, said he believed the first baby died during a storm when the mother tried to shield the chick from the wind and accidentally suffocated him with plastic that was in the nest. Waichulis said the mother is taking good care of the new foster baby and taking care of both the foster baby and the biological baby.

Both chicks were fed evenly and regularly until last weekend, when they weren’t fed for two days, Mesics said. The biological baby died on Sunday although the foster baby appears to be in good health, Mesics said. It’s unclear why the osprey’s father had trouble finding food. Mesics said one of the parents delivered fish to the surviving baby on Monday.

“When we have a problem, we call CROW”, Waichulis spoke about the station’s relationship with the nonprofit organization. “We built the platform (for the nest) with the help of CROW seven years ago.”

Ospreys are active at the nest year-round, he said. Waichulis thanked the firefighters and CROW for their assistance. In the past, Semmer Electric has also helped with the nest, Waichulis said.

Ospreys will use anything to build their nests, so it is our responsibility as stewards of the environment not to discard or leave artificial materials in the wild. Mesics said. “The future of our ecosystems, water quality, wildlife and public health depend on clean and healthy environments.”

Reactions/calls to pick up litter

“I’m so heartbroken” said Jennifer Rusk, overseer of the International Osprey Foundation, who serves on the City of Fort Myers Beach Marine Resources Task Force.

Rusk followed the development of the chicks and was deeply saddened by the loss of the two baby ospreys, but hopeful for the foster chick. “Sometimes it doesn’t always end with a happy ending, even though we tried,” Rusk said. Rusk thanked the firefighters and CROW for their efforts. “It’s really amazing what they have done” she says.

“We must remain optimistic that parents and orphan will continue their relationship, continue to strive to keep the orphan happy and well fed, and can watch this youngster take off and fly.”

Waichulis said the osprey chick tragedy is a reminder of the importance of picking up litter.

“That’s why it’s important for us as humans to throw away our trash,” said Waichulis.

Last month, the Pink Shell Resort installed six new trash cans along the beach on poles so they won’t interfere with nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.

“One of the core values ​​of our (company) is social responsibility,” said Waichulis.

“I want people to pick up their trash” Rusk said. “It is a barrier island and every piece of waste that is thrown away and not disposed of properly ends up in our waterway. We need everyone else to be held accountable for their trash and waste. She would like a ban on single-use plastics.

On Sunday, Rusk rescued a young osprey that had fallen near Fish-Tale Marina and had blood on its chest. “He kept trying to take off and kept falling,” Rusk said.

People tried to give him hot dogs and water, Rusk said. “They don’t eat meat. You can’t just throw food at him.” she says. “All they do is eat fish.

The youngster is now in the custody of CROW. Mesics said the youngster is recovering from surgery for a leg injury caused by a collision with a boat.

“It takes a village” Rusk said.

For those wishing to follow the Osprey Nest at Pink Shell Resort, the website link is:

https://pinkshellosprey.click2stream.com/

Nathan Mayberg, editor of the Fort Myers Beach Observer, can be reached at [email protected]


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