Or at least the starving osprey Davis County Animal Services officers safely netted Friday on the Kaysville ponds. The officers have turned over the bird to a Northern Utah wildlife rehabilitation center so it can make a full recovery.
“Ospreys usually live around large bodies of water, in the higher elevations, not down in our valley,” Davis County Animal Services Director Clint Thacker said.
“I have never seen an osprey this far down the mountain before,” Thacker said. The bird can have a length of about 22 inches and a wingspan of 4 to 6 feet.
It wasn’t until the officers were able to net the bird — which came as a shock, Thacker said, because the birds are notorious for being private and skittish — that they discovered it was starving.
Thacker said he noticed when he felt the adult male bird that it had a prominent breast bone. He said he immediately turned the bird over to the care of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden.
Thacker said Monday that staff at the center indicated the bird was eating well and getting stronger every day.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Executive Director Dalyn Erickson said ospreys are generally found near larger bodies of water, such as Pineview Reservoir. They were not sure why this particular bird, known as the fish hawk, was starving.
“We’re not sure what caused this bird to not find enough food,” Erickson said.
But knowing the nature of the osprey, she said, it does take a lot of talent and energy to secure a food source, and if the bird was not feeling well — just like a human — it would have had a difficult time doing that.
Erickson said the center sees about two ospreys a year.
This particular bird was thin and weak, Erickson said, but it is progressing very well as they build up its weight and muscle.
Ospreys, with a dark brown back and white belly, are normally “twitchy” birds, Erickson said, and this bird was twitching beyond that.
“It will take several weeks at best,” she said of the bird’s recovery time before it is released back into the wild.
Interestingly, the center, which takes in 1,800 animals a year, has an osprey as its logo.
Erickson said they are a sensitive species that suffers from habitat losses.