June 10, 2013
Feathered storm victims get new home in Buxton
….WITH SLIDE SHOW
By MIKE TIDD
winds on Friday afternoon destroyed the home of a family in the Flowers
Ridge area of Buxton, as Tropical Storm Andrea passed through the
Three fledgling ospreys took a terrifying ride
when their nest broke loose from its mooring high atop a tree, crashing
to the ground.
It was Kim Mosher of Flowers Ridge Road
who first noticed the nest had disappeared when a mid-afternoon squall
line passed over the island.
She and her husband, Kevin McCabe,
called Lou Browning of Hatteras Island Wildlife Rescue, who responded
immediately to the scene of the crisis. He and neighbor Tim
Waterfield trekked quickly into the dense, marshy thicket to locate the
frightened clutch and evaluate their condition.
emerged with three osprey chicks. While Lou transported and treated the
injured family at his Hatteras Island Wildlife Rescue center, neighbors
rallied to construct and erect a new makeshift home for the
Waterfield and McCabe, both of Flowers Ridge
Road, wasted no time cobbling parts together, while Tom Garrison of
Ridge Trail dug a foundation for the new home in Leroy Carroll’s side
McCabe and Waterfield knew what to do because they
had been down this road with an osprey family before. That incident
involved the same mother.
During a thunderstorm about 10 or 12
years ago, the mother osprey’s nest had fallen into a pond behind
Mosher and McCabe’s home. McCabe and Waterfield rescued the
chicks and constructed a new home for them.
The mother returned and has returned every year since, once with a new male partner after hers disappeared, to nest in the area.
neighbors worked quickly. The new nest is a Rubbermaid storage bin cut
in half and braced with a wood frame that is attached atop a tall pole.
It was filled with sticks, the osprey’s nesting material of choice.
new nest was erected in about an hour -- in time for Browning’s speedy
return with two of the chicks. The third was kept in the clinic for
further treatment and, unfortunately, was too seriously injured and had
to be euthanized.
McCabe said the mother hung around in
a nearby tree to observe the construction of her new home. After
the chicks were placed in the new nest, she waited and hour or so
before returning to them.
The parents have apparently accepted
and are adjusting to their strange new digs now housing their remaining
two chicks that are still several weeks from their first flight under
their own power.
Ospreys are large birds of prey that nest
along coastal areas. They have white heads with a broad, dark
band through the eye and cheek, and brown backs and wings.
are also called “fish hawks,” since their diet consists mostly of fish
that they catch by hovering high over the water and then diving swiftly
and expertly to catch the prey with their talons. You may well
have noticed them fishing along the Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches in
the spring and summer.
On Hatteras, they nest mostly in tall,
dead trees, but they have also been known to nest on manmade
structures, such as platforms on power poles or on top of channel
The nests are big, bulky affairs, made mostly from sticks.
The birds mate for life and return year after year to the same place to nest and raise their chicks.
and Mosher feel like they know this mother osprey quite well, though
they think she lost her original mate some years back and returned with
a new one.
“I’ve known her for 12, 13, or 14 years,” McCabe
said. “She’s got a feather on her wing that I use to identify
her….She’s a good mother and has been through a lot.
The ospreys leave the area for the winter, but McCabe says they return faithfully on or about March 1 of each year.
(Irene Nolan contributed to this article.)
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Browning started Hatteras Island Wildlife Rescue several years
ago. Based in Frisco, HIWR is dependent on donations for its work
with island wildlife. More information is available at http://www.hiwr.us/.
Also on this website, you can see the osprey cam, which is focused on a nest in Frisco near the rescue center.
You can read about some of the recent rescue cases on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hatteras-Island-Wildlife-Rehabilitation/316636688958
CLICK HERE TO VIEW SLIDE SHOW
comments powered by