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Heroic Osprey Rescue at Half-Moon Beach

Thanks to the help of local residents, a young osprey that was trapped in a nest at Half-Moon Beach in Sands Point was rescued and is now flying free again. Rosalind Schaefer provided the details of the story and photos of the heroic rescue to Port News.

While watching the ospreys from her home recently, Rosalind noticed that one of the three babies was not flying and seemed to be trapped in the nest. She got a closer look of the young bird through a telescope and saw that there was plastic around its leg, which was caught in the nest and preventing the bird from being able to take off and fly.

Rosalind called Jim Jones, a retired high school teacher who had built the stand for osprey nests through a class project several years ago. Jim is now president of Volunteers for Wildlife, a Huntington based non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving Long Island’s wildlife and natural habitats. When he arrived to help the bird, the tide was too high to get to the nest. However, Rosalind said that they noticed it would be easier to get to the nest from her neighbor’s side of the beach, so they raced to her neighbor’s house, and her neighbor kindly offered a kayak for the rescue. Jim needed a ladder to reach the nest, so he balanced a ladder on the kayak and made his way over to the stand. He also brought a cage in case the bird was injured.

During this time, Rosalind said that seven ospreys were flying and screeching near the nest where the baby was trapped. “This was very unusual,” she said. “I never see that many!”

When Jim got to the nest, he cut the plastic off of the bird’s leg. Luckily, the bird’s leg was not injured. After the young osprey was free, it was able to fly away from the nest. All of the ospreys that had been flying nearby flew away together in less than five minutes. Rosalind said that all three of the baby ospreys have been happy and safe again since the rescue – flying, diving, fishing, and eating.