Osprey on the Mend

 Osprey on the Mend

By Katie McFadden

Daniella Bartels was in the right place at the right time, and thanks to her and other good Samaritans, a local injured osprey is on the mend.

Bartels was driving home to Howard Beach after visiting her dad in Rockaway, when she saw a car pulled over and some people handling an osprey on the side of Cross Bay Boulevard on Monday night, July 31. As someone who has been involved in some animal rescue from chickens to doves, sparrows to turtles, and even squirrels as a former NYC Parks Department employee, the sight piqued her interest, and she made a U-turn to stop at the scene. “They thought he had a broken wing. They wanted to help but none of them knew where to take it,” Bartels said. Luckily, Bartels did know. One of the people that tried to help the osprey brought Bartels a box and she pulled a towel from her car and got to work. “I was able to pick him up, but he wasn’t happy about that. He wanted my fingers,” she said. But she took that as a good thing. “It was a sign that he was healthy enough to do that,” Bartels said.

Bartels believes the bird is a juvenile that fell out of the nest above Cross Bay Blvd., not too far from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, as it was found directly across the street from the nest. “I think he’s still a baby. He’s not super small but not quite flying on his own. Ospreys can get pretty big. They have a six-foot wingspan, and he was too small to be an adult,” she said. “I don’t think he was hit by a car, but he was bleeding from his nose, so I think maybe he fell.”

Bartels happens to work for GallopNYC, a nonprofit therapeutic horse-riding program, based out of a nearby barn on Linden Boulevard in Howard Beach. Since it was nighttime, she decided to bring the injured bird to the barn for the night until the Wild Bird Fund on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan, which nurses injured birds back to health, would re-open in the morning. She left the osprey in the barn with some water and the towel to prop himself up on until she returned in the morning to take him to the Wild Bird Fund as soon as they opened on Tuesday morning. The osprey was still full of life as she transported him on August 1. “On the way to the city, he was biting at the box to get out,” she said.

Bartels filled out an intake form and the Wild Bird Fund will keep her posted on the condition of the osprey. “It will depend on what’s wrong, but they’ll probably release him after being treated,” she said.  On Tuesday night, the WBF said the osprey, which they’re calling Helios, was not as injured as they feared. He was found to have a small mandible fracture and weakness in his right wing and leg, which they hope will improve. In the meantime, Bartels was happy to be in the right place at the right time to help. “I’m glad I got to experience that and help him. I always see the ospreys ever since they reintroduced them after Hurricane Sandy, but I never got to see one that close,” she said. “It was a good experience.”

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