Sunday, May 20, 2007

Osprey and Injured Birds

One of the first things we did after we checked in to our cabin in Fulton was to take our normal route down Fulton Beach Road. At the Connie Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary, we saw an Osprey -- I think it may have been the only one we saw on our trip (maybe we saw one other).

I took several pictures of this bird -- from two locations (these two are from the closer location). It was not until I was closer that I realized that this bird had only one leg. It possibly has an injury to it's shoulder (see the ruffled feathers?). While many birds often perch on one leg, I don't think that's the case with this one -- along side of the good leg appears to be a stump. And yet, this bird seems to be surviving -- it looks otherwise healthy. And in fact, when we drove by later in the day, it had flown to another location.

For some reason, I noticed several injured birds on this trip. We enjoy feeding the seagulls, and we often see birds with missing legs (sometimes both!) and feet, as these gull pictures show.

I've seen many injured birds in the past and wondered what might have happened to them. Of course there are plenty of dangers, such as fishing lines and such, but I think that most birds who are caught in a fishing line do not survive. I suspect that, especially in the case of the gulls and the osprey -- they went after prey that fought back -- or though of themselves as the hunter instead of the hunted -- a shark, barracuda, or other such predatory fish.

Now after saying that, I wanted to show this heron. I'm not exactly sure how it's injury came about. I took this picture on our second day, at Fulton Harbor. I remember seeing this bird last year. In spite of the broken leg (which improperly healed, so is forever useless), this bird does well. It probably has a lot of handouts from fishermen and folks at the restaurant, but I've also seen this bird stand on the dock with the water two feet below, and pluck out a fish. Pretty awesome, I'd say.


LePhare said...

A post trap would cause that kind of damage to a large bird. The Osprey was lucky to get away if that was the case.

A great set of pictures..... as usual.

Stormy said...

Hi Lephare,

A post trap -- as in a trap on a post? ...would effect the Heron?

Not quite sure about the osprey, but the "stump" looks like a clean "chop". Of course, we're not likely to ever know for sure.

LePhare said...

Post trap. Used on large estates to 'limit' birds of prey and thus protect the gamebirds for the shooting season. Totally illegal but.....

Stormy said...


Thanks for the clarification. We were discussing the idea of a "post trap" (assuming the obvious), but thinking that would not be legal here. But, sadly. those things do happen. I don't think that was the case here -- on the coast there are too many other birds and too many posts. ;-)