The following story was shared with us by Buz Marthaler at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.
An adult, female osprey was brought into the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU) in Ogden by caretakers of a Utah State campground. She was rescued from the water at a nearby reservoir, because she was unable to get airborne and rescuers believed she would drown without assistance.
She arrived at WRCNU underweight at 1,370 grams (about 3 pounds) with a body condition score of 2/5, a laceration near her right elbow, and trauma to her left eye. Body condition scores are a quick assessment of an animal’s amount of fat and muscle. A score of 1 means emaciated, while a 5 indicates overweight.
Her wound was cleaned, flushed, and sutured closed. She was then administered antibiotics and both oral and ophthalmic anti-inflammatories for the wing and eye trauma. Due to her low weight and injury, she was started on EmerAid Intensive Care Carnivore supplemented with 1,000 mg fish oil.
Osprey are a difficult raptor species to rehab due to their long wings and tails. They are extremely uncoordinated on the ground and tend to break flight feathers quickly, making release difficult. Being an adult with experience flying and hunting, WRCNU decided to continue her on EmerAid for the duration of her care and release her as soon as her weight showed improvement.
After three weeks her weight had increased to just under 1,600 grams (about 3.5 pounds), and her wound had healed. It was decided to set her free.
She took to the air beautifully and headed straight out over the water, taking a turn behind some trees where we lost sight of her until she came back around over our heads to say, (we think) “Thank you!”