Readers’ wildlife photos (and video): Osprey rescue!

Reader Glenn Butler sent photos and videos of an osprey rescue in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in which Glenn participated. The bird had become entangled in fishing line and then in a tree. Glenn’s notes are indented:

At ten o’clock Memorial Day morning, we received an emergency text from an experienced wildlife rehabilitator regarding a stranded osprey (Pandion haliaetus). The hapless raptor was reportedly hanging from a sweetgum tree over a lake, baking under full exposure in midday heat. No one knew how long he had been trapped, but at least since six o’clock the previous evening and probably longer.

Once we located the bird, we saw his body waving in the wind, appearing as limp and lifeless as an abandoned kite. For an anxious few minutes we tried playing osprey alarm calls and strained to see any movement. Sadly we saw nothing. The tree ensnaring the poor creature was densely covered in poison ivy, and after believing the bird to be dead, we decided to abandon the rescue.

While packing to leave, other volunteers approached from the lakeside by pontoon and saw slight movement. Scott Beecher, an expert arborist and tree climber quickly set a climbing line, ascended the tree, and devised a strategy for bringing the bird down with a rigging line. His willingness to brave an almost impenetrable wall of poison ivy without sleeves surely helped give this magnificent osprey a second chance. Please read the newspaper article [link below] for more details. The osprey is currently in raptor rehab, and we hope to share a video of a successful release in a few days.

First, a photo from The Virginian-Pilot in the article about the rescue (this photo was by Rudy Carrera).

Pictures by Glenn:

And the rescue video made by Glenn. Kudos to him and his fellow rescuers!


  1. Posted May 30, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    lucky bird

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Great work Glenn and everyone- especially the person who invited urushiol on their skin!

  3. mallardbrad
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Get them all “hero” capes! Terrific video photography.

  4. Posted May 30, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Great work! That guy needs to take prednisol fast.

  5. BJ
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    How wonderful!

    I find birds of prey to be fascinating. They’re so graceful, precise, and ruthless. Watching them do their thing just takes my breath away.

  6. darrelle
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Excellent work Glenn et al. Osprey are fierce!

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    That bird looks like he’s saying, “Must you film my indignity?”

  8. Jon Mummaw
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Here’s a great selfie of a motorcyclist and the wounded bald eagle he rescued from a busy highway in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, he was dressed for the job.

  9. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted May 30, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff.

  10. Posted May 30, 2019 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s heartwarming to witness such big and caring hearts.

    Fishing folks, recreational and commercial alike, really need to do better to clean up their fishing lines and especially big broken nets out on the water.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 31, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I recall back in the 1970s there was a big campaign to replace lead fishing weights with tungsten, steel, or something less toxic (my regular barber shared the shop with a fishing tackle store – you can guess what the reading material was). Has that campaign penetrated to the USA yet.
      As part of the same UK campaign, I did see people becoming more careful of their fishing line as well.

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