The late spring and summer months are commonly filled with stories reflecting unique challenges young raptors face once they leave the safety of their nests. In mid-August, the clinic admitted a young male osprey that fledged from its nest near a local gravel company. On one of its first flights, it landed on a chute used to dispense gravel but went tumbling down the chute when gravel began to flow and was buried in a pile of small rocks.
Thankfully, workers at the gravel pit noticed almost immediately, quickly dug out the hapless raptor, and called for help. Surprisingly, there were no broken bones. Although the bird suffered a few abrasions and a bruised wing from the ordeal, the most concerning issue was that it was experiencing respiratory distress, likely from inhaling a large amount of gravel dust.
With the help of an oxygen concentrator previously donated by a clinic volunteer, the osprey’s breathing appeared to return to normal in a few days. Wound management and supportive care were provided for another week as the bird’s soft tissue wounds healed. When test flown, respiratory issues resurfaced and several more weeks of rest were needed. Then, after a few weeks of exercise, the bird was on its wing to begin its long migration south.