Last Flight of an Osprey - A Majestic Bird Falls...

I came upon this most majestic bird this Monday.  I did not witness the tragedy but upon some minor investigation concluded that this Osprey made a simple and understandable mistake by failing to comprehend the principles of electricity.  Obviously, no fault of the bird's. The act of survival is what led this bird to an unfortunate destiny.

It is the closet I have ever been to one of my favorite birds of prey.  It is an absolutely gorgeous bird whether in flight, perched atop a tree or even in this situation, eternal rest... The incident happened most likely within a couple hours of the time I arrived.

Close by was a pretty large mullet I'd say close to a foot long and it had some pretty good weight to it. It was easy to conclude the Osprey caught the mullet from the apparent marks left on the mullet from the clutches of the Osprey's talons.  Makes you understand what a great fisherman this bird really is!

At the base of the pole is where I found the Osprey and the mullet.  Not very difficult to conclude that after catching the mullet the Osprey headed for a private location to dine on the freshly caught kill from a vantage point that provided the bird instinctual safety.  Unfortunately this pole has not been Osprey proofed.  I learned that TECO ( Tampa Electric Company) keeps track of bird kills as a result of electrocution from utility lines and after a few confirmed deaths will outfit the poles to accommodate birds that have long wingspans that can ground out on the wires.

Here you can easily see what happened.  The base of the pole is to the far right of the photograph, the Osprey and the mullet. The above photo shows how tempting this pole would be to any bird of prey.  It's tall and sits on the bank of the Hillsborough river.  A great location to hunt and dine on a catch.

Upon close inspection of the Osprey you can see the electrical surge exited the birds right wing breaking the bone and somewhat charring the surrounding site.

You can't see it in this picture but one of the Osprey's left talons is completely burnt off.  More evidence leading me to conclude the pole and electrical current played the role of executioner.

Tragic loss when we lose such a majestic bird to a senseless accident that does have preventable means.  It does not happen often but often enough that  some safe guards should be implemented along areas of high Osprey/bird of prey concentration.


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