Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ollie, Ollie, Osprey...?

   If it got up over 40 degrees today, I never knew it... I stayed 
inside working on becoming germ-free and making sure this cold didn't do to me what it's done to so many - gone into the lungs. About lunchtime I decided to go into my office (15 or 16 steps away) and actually got some work done for awhile. When my son showed up, he plunked himself down and then gasped,"Mom, lookit!" When I followed his pointing finger, I saw this lovely young raptor, an Osprey-looking bird perched on a limb about 200 yards away. I carefully moved and went to get my camera. Here is what we saw....        According to my limited research, it is a juvenile, but on closer looks at the photos, I am not certain it is of the Osprey family. I really need to have someone with more experience evaluate the shots. At any rate, the youngster stayed on the limb for quite awhile, preening its feathers and watching us watching it. My son left after the bird flew off and called me when he got home. "Mom, you might not believe this, but that bird is sitting in the tree right outside my house and it is screeching!" I could actually hear the noise through the phone. Same bird? He only lives about 4 miles from me.... so it could be.
   What adds to the wonderful mystery of this story is that back in the fall, we were biking around the local Lake Dupont and came upon a downed Osprey (this really was one) in shock. No one wanted to abandon it to dogs or mischievous humans, so my son and I were nominated as "bird people" to get it into a transport cage (because I have one at home for my Gray) and get it to a rescue group the next day. Although we tried to find someone to take it that evening, no one was available. So I brought it to my house and covered the cage (I don't have a garage.) and checked on it once or twice until about 1 a.m. I went inside and woke up at 5, but the bird had died.
   I was desolate. I followed all the guidelines for rescue (don't give it any water or food, protect it, etc.) but the truck that hit it, had done it's damage. The bird never cried out when we moved it from the road to the transport cage, and never cried out when I approached the cage later that night. Now what? I have a 25 pound bird to deal with. Not your little parakeet.
I called Florida Fish & Game and someone there said, "Just dump it. We don't want it." It deserved better than being pitched in the garbage.
   A few of my Native American friends were interested in having some feathers, but had no ideas of what to do. So I found a place in my garden that the ground was soft enough to dig in, and I got some cedar chips. I laid a bed of cedar chips, put the bird on top of them, sprinkled some more on top and lit my sage incense wand. Walking quietly in a circle around the spot, I urged Grandfather to take the spirit of this bird with Him, and to let it soar. I asked forgiveness of the man who drove off without stopping his truck and forgiveness of all of us who tried to rescue it.
   When I was at peace with myself about it, I piled the dirt on top and around and then found some leaves to put under some more cedar chips. I set the leaves on fire and watched the chips burn down. When the fire went out, I put more dirt on the spot and added some heavy branches to keep animals away. 
   Today's visitor was sitting on a branch almost on top of the spot where the Osprey is buried.

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