Fishing Line & the Osprey

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This story needs to be told, heard and shared.

We can pretty much let the pictures below speak for themselves, but here is the short of it: two gentlemen found a fledgling osprey (a fledgling is a baby bird that has developed sufficiently enough to start learning how to fly) which had fallen out of its nest during a storm. They knew immediately something was wrong as the fledgling was not moving. They used a towel to wrap up the bird (and to protect themselves from the sharp talons and beak), and contacted us. We guided them to our Birdgency Room, and being the caring people they are, they brought the osprey to us immediately.

Fishing line that had been left behind was tightly wound around the young osprey’s leg, which was severed with only bone exposed, with a necrotic infection having spread into its talons and up its leg. Undoubtedly during the baby osprey’s struggle to free itself, the fishing line also ended up wrapped around its other leg, causing immense pain.

Junk fishing tackle causing problems is not just a “pelican issue”

Warning: Before clicking, know that the images below are graphic, and may be disturbing to some viewers.

As you can imagine, this story does not end well. Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator Kayla Gainer:

  • Having to humanely put down any living creature is the hardest thing, but when you know this bird could never survive in captivity or in the wild, and all the pain it has endured in it's first few weeks of life in the nest, it was the best thing we could do... Who would have thought that one piece of fishing line that somehow ended up in this osprey nest - whether by the fish the parents brought to feed their young, or whether it was caught on the parent osprey and then transferred to the baby - could take the life of such a young magnificent bird.–Kayla Gainer, Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator

This was a tragedy that didn’t have to happen

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center encourages responsible fishing practices. Please do not leave fishing line and tackle behind; dispose of all discarded tackle in a proper, covered wastebasket.

FKWBC Team, 2015

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  1. Ian Martin  May 8, 2015

    For more information about how you can help to prevent incidents like this from happening visit:


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