You know what they say, “birds of a feather flock together” and that statement could not have been more true than on Monday, March 20 when the San Diego Humane Society and SDG&E came together to free an osprey that was tethered to her nest by tangled fishing line, at the top of a City of San Diego light pole in Ocean Beach.
“This was a tricky rescue because the nest was not on SDG&E infrastructure, so we were not sure what equipment might be on the light pole,” explains Julia Varnergardner, SDG&E’s Sr. Environmental Specialist, who was there during the rescue. “Thankfully, our Beach Cities crew was able to assess the situation, get a bucket truck in position, and complete the rescue safely without causing any undue stress to the nestlings and the tangled adult.”
OB residents reached out to the SD Humane Society Project Wildlife team on Sunday after they noticed the entrapped osprey, as well as her partner osprey that was overseeing the nest. The residents also noted that the father osprey had been bringing food to the three nestlings since the mother osprey was stuck.
SDG&E Linemen Skyler Littlefield and Matt Bryant performed the rescue on Monday by reaching the bird's nest 40 feet above ground, cutting the bird free, and bringing her down to the ground.
“It takes a village to care for the wildlife that we are so incredibly fortunate to have in our community,” said veterinarian Dr. Jon Enyart, Senior Director of San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife. “This osprey is getting a second chance thanks to the good Samaritans that reached out to inform us that the entangled osprey had chicks in her nest was unable to leave and hunt for food.” Dr. Enyart continues, “We are grateful for the cooperative partnership that has been developed between SDG&E and Project Wildlife which allows us to call upon SDG&E whenever we come across animals in need, and we don’t have the proper equipment to help with the rescue.”
People witnessing the rescue say that it took about 45 minutes and once safely in Dr. Enyart’s arms, the assessment was made that her left leg was swollen from the fishing line, but she didn’t have any lasting injuries. After being fed fluids by Dr. Enyart the Osprey was released, took a quick lap, and flew right back to her nest and nestlings.
“Doing the right thing for the wildlife of San Diego County is something that each of our employees demonstrates in their day-to-day work,” says Julia. “San Diego is a beautiful and ecologically diverse county and rescues like this show how we strive to keep it that way. Being able to collaborate with our rescue partner, Project Wildlife, is a wonderful part of my job. We recently started to collaborate with them for their new Renest and Reunite program to find foster nests for rehabilitated raptor nestlings who are healthy enough to return to the wild. As our relationship with Project Wildlife continues to grow, I’m excited to see what collaboration we come up in the future.”