lies: One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also,…

Posted July 5th, 2017 by John Callender


One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted, Pokémon Go player) is that it gets you out in the world, visiting interesting places. Yesterday I was walking through the marsh when another marsh enthusiast (Kim; I’m sorry I don’t know her last name) told me about a big bird that was flopping around in the bushes next to the Franklin Creek channel. I checked it out from across the creek, and could see that it was an adult osprey. It appeared to be attached by the legs to a length of fishing line that in turn was tangled in the bushes. The bird would try to fly, making loud alarm calls, then fall down into the bushes and lie there looking upset.

Kim was calling everyone she knew trying to find someone who could help; I started calling everyone I knew. Because it was a Sunday it was hard to get someone, but eventually Kim got through to someone who got through to Niels Lameijer, a Carpinterian who works with the Ojai Raptor Center as part of their rescue and rehabilitation program, and shortly thereafter he was on the scene. Here’s some video I shot of Niels rescuing the bird.

Warning: Includes a closeup toward the end showing the bird’s bleeding leg, impaled by the hooks of a fishing lure. So if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing maybe best not to watch.

In thinking about it, I think the likeliest scenario is that the bird dove onto the lure while someone was fishing with it, mistaking it for an injured fish (which, after all, is a lure’s goal). Presumably the human at the other end of the line then either cut the line or it broke, allowing the osprey to fly away.

I don’t want to think badly of the fisherperson(s) involved without knowing more about what happened. It’s possible they were fishing legally and just didn’t realize the osprey was interested in their lure. It’s also possible, though, that it was someone fishing inside the marsh, which is illegal, though I’ve sometimes seen people (usually kids) doing it along the nearby Santa Monica Creek channel. I’ve tended to turn a blind eye to that in the past, but if I see it in the future I’m going to be more vocal.

Niels sent an email today saying that the bird is doing well, and should soon be released back into the wild. I hope to see it flying over the marsh again soon.

Reblogging myself with the followup video of the bird being released in the marsh the next day (Monday). Nothing icky-looking about this one; just a beautiful raptor going back where it belongs.

Reposted from

Tags: Carpinteria Salt Marsh, carp without cars, osprey, animal rescue.

Leave a Reply