Crabbers Rescue Mother Osprey, Fledgling Afloat In Fallen Nest

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s not unusual for birds to fall out of their nests.

But having the entire nest fall into a river and float away with the bird inside? That’s unusual.

Alex DeMetrick reports, this situation recently sparked a unique water rescue.

Ospreys are skilled nest builders. And apparently, those sturdy nests can also serve as life rafts.

Last week on the Magothy River in Pasadena, Paul Rothe and friends were crabbing.

“We got over there, there’s an osprey nest, the whole nest in the water,” Rothe says. “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life, and I’ve been on the water my whole life.”

Even more surprising was the contents of the nest.

“It was the mother osprey and the baby, one fledgling on the nest, floating. I mean they’re both soaked. The mother looked exhausted.”

Rothe snapped a few pictures as he and his friend carefully maneuvered the nest, which was falling apart, toward Gibson Island, finally wading it onto a secluded beach.

“We checked on them two hours later,” he says. “They were drying out in the sunshine fine. They looked healthy.”

He doesn’t know how the nest fell into the water, but he has a new admiration for the birds, especially the powerful instinct they have to protect their young. Even when their home hit the water, the mother stayed with her fledgling.

“We did the best we could do for them. We just couldn’t let them die. Because they were going to die. I guess we did a good thing. I hope they survive and everything.”

While the nest situation was out of the ordinary, this isn’t the first time Rothe has rescued an osprey.

“We’ve cut one from a nest that had fishing line wrapped around its talons,” he says.

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