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Hunters rescue injured osprey

Zach Ramsey holds the injured osprey he and his dad rescued while out hunting for turkey. Submitted Photo

Zach and Dan Ramsey’s turkey hunt was a bust, but they did bring home a bird — an injured osprey.

The son and father were hunting May 11 in the Vergas area when they came across what Zach’s uncle had earlier called, “a dead hawk hanging in a tree.”

“We just decided to stop by and take a look at it,” 17-year-old Zach said.

Sure enough, there was what appeared to be a hawk wrapped in twine on a tree branch. The two hunters decided to get a closer look.

“We get up to it and found out it’s a live osprey,” Zach said. “It started flapping.”

When what they thought was a dead bird started moving, it obviously startled the pair, he said. But they quickly went into rescue mode.

“Dad grabbed the shotgun, took one shot at (the branch) with some steel shot, then used some low base 8 shot, about three more rounds into it and it finally came down,” Zach said.

Once the osprey was freed from the branch, Zach said it attempted to fly but just dropped to the ground with an apparent wing injury.

“So we took about the next 10 to 15 minutes just getting it untangled,” he said.

The bird was completely tangled in baling twine, and once freed from that, the two hunters set the bird on a branch to see if it would fly off. It didn’t.

“We decided to take it home and call someone,” Zach said.

The father and son called no less than five local organizations and they either weren’t open or none could help. That’s when Zach’s uncle, Steve Ramsey, suggested they contact the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul.

The Ramseys transported the injured osprey to Motley, where they turned it over to the Raptor Center. Zach said the center called on May 14 to say the osprey is doing well but it had no blood circulation in one wing, and they are going to work on the bird of prey to try to get it back to health.

The Ramseys transported the osprey to Motley in a dog kennel, but Zach had to hold the bird on the earlier trip from the field to home. He said he was holding the bird with both hands, trying not to let the talons touch his body.

“It gets tiring, holding an osprey. I’ll say that much,” he said. “At one point, its talon came down and it started trying to dig into my leg.”

Zach said the rescue was just something that needed to be done and it took no second thought to try to help save the bird.

“It’s probably just something I would have done anyways, but it feels great nonetheless,” he said.

Brian Basham, Detroit Lakes Tribune

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