A young osprey was rescued after its talon was caught 85 feet above ground on Monday near Old Walnut Canyon Road.
Tim Macy, a local bird watcher and avid photographer, assessed the situation from below. Macy saw the nestling’s talon was caught in twine and netting within its nest, and that the bird was in distress. Macy said he realized the osprey would have tried to fledge and fly away, potentially dying in the process.
The osprey nest was located on a snag, or dead tree, right past the Continental driving range. Although snags can be dangerous, it is important that they are not chopped down because they are vital to the nesting of the common osprey and bald eagles found in the area, according to Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Since the snag was too dangerous to climb, Macy contacted the department for help, with APS also called to assist. APS brought its bucket truck to the site, which hoisted an APS worker and AZGF employee up 85 feet next to the snag, where they were able to free the osprey from the entanglement. The osprey was monitored for a few days and was released on Wednesday after it looked healthy and had fledged.
Shelley Shepherd, the Information and Education Program Manager at AZGF, was delighted at APS’s quick assistance with the rescue. Shepherd noted the reminders posted on PVC pipes and elsewhere that ask visitors to throw away all waste should not be taken for granted.
Osprey and eagles create nests near bodies of water. Because of the nests' proximity to fishing sites, fishing lines have often been found in their nests, along with baline twine, netting and other odd materials that the birds bring back to their homes. Another problem is birds feeding on fish that have swallowed fishing lines or other man-made products. If the bird eats the fish with the foreign material, it can become sick or die.
If you wish to have AZGF help out an animal in need, you can call the Flagstaff location’s office at 928-774-5045.