top of page
  • Writer's picturePam Narney

Living on Osprey Time

Travails of the Garbage-Canned Osprey: Part 2 Pam Narney

A drenched and exhausted Osprey in a garbage can

Saturday morning, August 14 dawned clear and sunny.

I was reluctant to open the garage door to check and see if our Osprey was alive.

At 8:00 the phone rang. It was Andre. Andre is a volunteer runner for Alton’s Keep who transports injured birds. He is a soft spoken, personable, amiable, and reassuring French man. His wife specializes in eagle rescues.

“I’ll be there in an hour to transport your Osprey to Alton’s Keep.”

Relief. Our Osprey would go to the refuge for treatment and eventual release.

After the call, I realized that I should check on the Osprey to see if she was alive. Andre need not travel for over an hour to get here, if the Osprey had died during the night.

I cautiously opened the garage door and peeked in. The covering on the garbage can was off. I quickly closed the door. If the Osprey had managed to get out of the garbage can, I didn’t want to meet it face-to-face in the garage.

Andre arrived 45 minutes later.

“Where’s the Osprey?”

“She’s in a garbage can in the garage,” I said, as I started to walk toward the garage.

Andre said, “Wait. Let me get ready first.”

Andre dropped the tailgate on his truck, pulled a tremendously large dog crate, big enough for a German Shepard, toward the end of the tailgate and opened the door. He put his leather gauntlets on his arms and grabbed a long-handled net.

As I led him to the side door, I explained that the Osprey might be wandering around loose in the garage.

Being the expert, Andre went first.

What a relief! The Osprey was not only still in the garbage can, but she was alert. Alive! The quiet night’s rest had been restorative.

Andre put down the net, stuck his face into the garbage can and began whispering to the Osprey like a parent.

Soothing words from the Osprey whisperer

“Oh, hello. Don’t be afraid. We are going to get you to a doctor.”

Then he tried to grab her.

“No, put your wings down. That’s right. We’re going to take care of you.”

This went on for five minutes or so. Every time Andre tried to collect her, she jumped up, and Andre had to begin the calming talk again.

Andre told me to raise the large garage door.

“Can I take a picture when you lift her out?” I asked.

“Sure. Be quick about it.”

Another round of calming talk, and he had her. As he lifted her out, he called, “If you want to take a picture, do it now.”

Unfortunately, he was too fast for me and had the Osprey safely in the carrier before I could get my camera organized.

What just happened to me?

One of Andre’s hobbies is photography, but me, not so much.

So I had missed out on some rare opportunities. I had not managed to hold an Osprey in my arms, though Kaz had. I also had not managed to get a fabulous picture of Andre carrying the Osprey to the carrier. My bucket list remains full.

The Osprey in the cage took an aggressive stance, staring at us. She was active, alert, and standing tall.

Back off, buddy!! I'm an Osprey.

That is not a stance Resolute would take.

With the Osprey safely contained, Andre and I discussed the next steps.

When the Osprey recovered, Alton’s Keep would return her to our house for release.

I said, I would gladly drive to Alton’s Keep in Southern Suffolk to bring her back. I would call Andre to release her after we arrived.

Andre talked to the Osprey again. He then then covered her crate with a light cloth, bungee cording the cloth around the cage. He bungee corded the cage securely into the truck bed.

Neighbors walked by, curious about the cage, then surprised to see the Osprey.

Then Andre and the Osprey were on their way.

Later that evening, Tommy White sent us a picture of our Osprey at the refuge on a perch with a huge fish. She looked settled in and comfortable.

The Garbage Canned Osprey at Alton's Keep with a really big fish

All things looked good for a full recovery.

But John and I both had our doubts that this was Resolute. After closer observation we saw that the Osprey at the refuge had yellow eyes. Juvenile Osprey have red eyes, so this was an adult. So it wasn’t Resolute or either of her siblings.

By its stance and behavior, and the lack of any brown necklace, this could be a male.

Maybe it was time to go back and review Osprey ID 101.

Could this be one of Resolute’s parents? NO. The next day dad delivered a fish.

How did this Osprey end up in the water below our Osprey nest? We have lots of conjecture, but no answers.

We felt we had done a good job saving our Osprey.

We felt wonderful.

Well, we felt wonderful until we got an update from Tommy White at Alton’s Keep.

The adventure was too much for our garbage-canned Osprey who succumbed to respiratory issues.

Rest in peace little buddy. We did all we could for you.

Special thanks to Tommy White, Andre the raptor whisperer;

neighbors Kaz and Nina; Diana O’Connor; and, as always, my husband John.

And a special thanks to all of our friends, naturalists, and the agencies who returned our calls for help.

A very special thanks to Katherine, who edits my drafts and makes the blog stories come to life in plain language.


Alton’s Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Suffolk, VA on Facebook

To contact Tommy White about injured birds, call 1-757-416-4098


bottom of page