An Osprey’s Path to Recovery

May 30, 2024
Osprey spreads its wings in a flight cage

In early May, an osprey lay on the ground in a quarry in Wingdale, NY, barely moving for an entire day. Concerned for its well-being, a nearby resident contacted a local wildlife rescuer for help. Responding swiftly, the dedicated team at Dyckman’s Wildlife Control arrived and gently picked up the distressed bird.

Osprey Rehabilitation

Despite some dried blood on his wing, the osprey seemed to be in decent shape. They called the Wildlife Manager at Green Chimneys to take over the bird’s rehabilitation and hopeful release.

Under the watchful eyes of Green Chimneys’ skilled caregivers, the osprey began its recovery. Ospreys are remarkable hunters with a very specific diet of fish. This made it crucial to provide a steady supply of fish to help this one recover. These birds are particularly sensitive to stress in captivity, which can lead to feather loss. This meant minimizing human interaction was essential.

For the first few days at Green Chimneys Wildlife Center, the osprey stayed on the ground. As he started eating and regaining strength, he began to perch on low branches. Two weeks later, he flew from branch to branch, high up in the large flight cage.

In the wild, an osprey dives into the water to catch its prey, needing enough power to lift both itself and the fish from the water. Interestingly, ospreys aren’t limited to coastal areas; they also nest near freshwater reservoirs and salt marshes.

Recognizing that the bird was on track to be released, caretakers took the osprey to Brewster Veterinary Hospital for a final examination. Without robust strength and intact feathers, the bird could drown as it hunts. Finally, the x-rays revealed good news: no broken bones and vets gave him a clean bill of health.

Ready for Release

If the bird is ready at Birds of Prey Day, Green Chimneys graduating senior Diego will give the osprey a special send-off. High atop a fire truck, it will have the perfect launch point to spread its wings and soar back into the skies where it belongs. If it needs more time, a Red-shouldered hawk will be released instead. Animal welfare is at the core of the Green Chimneys mission and we will give each bird the space to recover on their individual timeline.

This event not only marks the successful rehabilitation of a bird but also celebrates the spirit of Green Chimneys School. Dedicated to students with special needs, the school’s nature-based programming integrates animal rehabilitation into its educational programs. Through caring for these animals, students learn compassion, encouragement, and the true meaning of stewardship. For Diego and the other high school students graduating this June, the a wild bird’s rehabilitation journey and release back to the wild reflects their healing, growth, and the start of the next chapter in their journey.

Birds of Prey Day

Celebrate Green Chimneys’ famous annual tradition dedicated to children, the environment, and magnificent birds of prey on Sunday, June 2. It’s a day filled with over 100 raptors, free-flying demos, top wildlife experts, live animal presentations, hayrides, zip line, children’s activities, live music and more! Learn more