Ospreys are gradually recovering in population after pesticides (like DDT) nearly wiped them out. It takes roughly 54 days for osprey chicks to develop their wings and leave the nest – which was apparently too long for Maryland officials to wait.
Two young ospreys were removed by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services from their nest on top of a light fixture overlooking a ballpark. Instead of bringing the birds to a rescue, both were euthanized.
The beautiful birds make their nests high up in the trees or on top of utility poles near bodies of water. Some bird lovers even put up poles to attract ospreys and give them a place to nest. Sadly, two juvenile ospreys in Maryland never had the chance to spread their wings – and people are outraged.
The incident took place at Cove Point Park. County officials are claiming they followed all protocols and say the birds were about 30 days old and not close to fledging.
Bird rescuer and journalist, Donna Cole, shared some heartbreaking photos of the ospreys being removed from their nest and information via her website Annapolis Creative. While she reached out to all parties involved for answers, she shared that she is personally outraged as well by the decision to euthanize the healthy chicks.
Calvert County Board of County Commissioners released a statement after receiving multiple inquires. It said that the nest “could endanger visitors to Cove Point Park with the risk of falling sticks or other nesting material.”
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Wildlife activists and birdwatchers are not buying that excuse and want to know why a rescue wasn’t contacted to take the young birds.
County officials said, “Calvert County Government enlisted the services of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, through a cooperative services agreement, to remove the nest. Due to the nature of this agreement, Calvert County Government was not consulted or informed as to why or how the decision was made to euthanize the juveniles in the nest rather than relocate.”
One bird enthusiast, Maggie Silverman, reached out to USDA for an explanation, but the response she received is being called uninformative and frankly, “BS”. She posted it for all to see on MD Birding Facebook group.
But why couldn’t they wait a few more weeks until the birds left the nest?
No one has provided an explanation, and probably never will.
The blatant disregard for the lives of the innocent birds is very upsetting to most. The USDA’s response that they “carefully consider the decision to remove individual birds and lethal removal is done with consideration for the population of the species as a whole,” makes no sense.
One birder summed it up perfectly, ‘I guess their excuse is we have enough osprey already so disposing of a few “inconvenient” babies makes perfect sense. I’m heartbroken for the two babies who didn’t get a chance to live out their lives, the parents who spent a season nest-building, incubating eggs, and successfully raising their young, just so some selfish, cruel humans can kill them according to a senseless narrative. People who prefer to kill wildlife instead of choosing a non-lethal relocation should get another profession. They should NOT be in charge of our natural resources, period.’
Calvert County said they will make sure USDA knows they would like wildlife relocated in the future.
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