At about 8 a.m. on June 5, a baby osprey fell out of its nest, situated near the two-mile mark on the path that goes around Lake Murray. A more-fortunate sibling managed to remain in the nest, which is perched on top of a tall SDG&E power pole.
The osprey nest was fabricated by SDG&E workers about 20 years ago, and it always had an osprey nesting in it, but never a baby osprey. It was believed that no baby osprey would ever be found in a manmade nest. When two ospreys were born there this year, lake bird-watchers were overjoyed.
The fallen bird was spotted on the fence below the nest. A crowd of people stood around watching it. Some women were sitting on a nearby bench crying. Everyone looked very concerned and sad. Soon, a city truck pulled up with lake workers Reuben and Leo. They had a birdcage and towels and proceeded to coax the bird into the cage. First, they needed to shield its eyes with the towels before it was gently pushed into a box.
Some people protested the rescue, of the belief that they should “leave nature alone.” The protesters believed that there was nothing wrong with the bird, that this falling out of the nest was just a process that all birds experience on their way to becoming full-fledged flying birds.
In fact, on June 3, KFMB/Channel 8 news did a report that called attention to the young osprey with “either a deformed or injured wing.” Bird-watcher Michael Madruga was interviewed, saying with certainty that the bird wouldn’t be able to fly. Alison Cook from Project Wildlife noted that the Migratory Bird Act prohibited any type of rescue while the bird was in the nest and still being cared for by its parents.
In the end, Project Wildlife did examine the osprey and it was found to have a scarred wing, which means that it will never fly. However, it will be living its life at a bird sanctuary.