McKenzie River Osprey Rescue

I like critters of all types, but I happen to have a special affinity for ospreys. It is hard not to like a bird that spends it’s whole life fishing. A friend and I were out in canoe the other day on Leaburg Lake, when we saw a raptor of some sort sitting on that little island below the covered bridge. Thinking at first that it was a turkey vulture eating the deceased, we paddled up for a closer look.

“That’s not a turkey vulture, that’s a friggin’ osprey. Why is it just sitting there? Something is wrong with that bird.”

There it was. Mono wrapped around one foot and a wing, pellet head still dangling off of the end. It could neither fly nor walk. It was, however, still well within its capabilities of looking seriously pissed.

We backed the boat off and debated netting the bird and unwinding it ourselves. After having a long look at the feet and beak on that thing, we thought better of it. We hit upon the idea of calling the Cascade Raptor Center, in Eugene. Luckily, they answer their phone 24/7. They made a few calls and had a staff member standing on the new EWEB ramp in under an hour. We pulled the canoe up and ferried the Raptor Center person downstream to the bird. It was pretty amazing to watch the skill with which she handled that bird.

The big take away here: Clean up your line. Clean up everyone’s line, really. RG

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18 Responses to McKenzie River Osprey Rescue

  1. ecneubert says:

    that was excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ron R says:

    Great Job.

    The Leaburg Dam area is so littered with mono and treble hooks that it makes me sick. While doing some work for EWEB on the restoration of the Fender House, I saw a drowned beaver that hooked itself in the front paw – you could still see the powerbait on the hook. Poor thing was just stuck under water, waving in the current.

    I must have counted 30 bobbers and corkies in the debris next to the dam and picked up 100 yards of line that day. Sad.

  3. Osprey are one of my favorite raptors. Glad you happened to be there that day. You probably saved it’s life. Hat’s off to the Cascade Raptor Center for the quick response.


  4. fred hayes says:

    you did save that raptor, cudos for the fast thinking……

    i am amazed at the mono and litter i find on the river’s edge. lakes seem to be worse. we should teach conservation in grade school, so the kids can help teach their “parents” to care.

  5. Jason Koop says:

    Glad to see there was had a happy ending. I am putting a link to this article on our club web site to remind our member to take care of their trash and to pick up what they find. And thanks to the Cascade Raptor Center! If you have never gone there it is a must! They do great work and you will see wonderful birds and learn much on your trip. Thanks for posting this.

    Jason Koop

  6. Jannice M from Pa. says:

    You are true heros for helping that great bird, I would like to thank you both for getting it help so fast.
    I would also like to give a big KUDO’S to the Cascade Raptor Center for being there so fast, they are very busy I’m sure but they still made great timing.
    I only wish everyone was as good as you all are out there, and you are so right about the line it only takes a few minutes to pick it up even if its not yours you could save a life in the long run.

  7. David Jensen says:

    Today was my 30th McKenzie River Cleanup float, from Silver Creek to Brown’s Hole. Not only are the banks fouled by monofilament, but styrofoam bait containers, fishing egg jars, cigarette butts, toilet paper, beer cans and bottles (many broken), but more exotic stuff like tires and other heavy and unidentifiable shit. This is an annual effort sponsored by the McKenzie River Guides Assn. and the McKenzie Watershed Council. The river is cleaned by boat and land from above McKenzie Bridge to Armitage Park. RG’s “big take away” is spot on – every time we see anything on the bank, clean it up and put it in a garbage bag that you have in your boat. If you fish from land, get into a practice of carrying one of those damn plastic sacks you get at the store to pick up this crap.

  8. steve says:

    We should always believe we live in a small world. “Our” world is the river and all that lives, grows and dies in our world..
    What we just saw was our community coming together for our world….

  9. married to flystud says:

    Very cool video, thanks for sharing!

  10. gregH says:

    Great post guys… thanks for your river stewardship and the great video!!!

  11. Rob R says:

    Well done!! Fishermen are scumbags.

  12. Dan Bischoff says:

    Glad you guys helped that awesome bird. Good story. Pisses me off the people leave that much monofilament around.

  13. Anthony says:

    I was fishing the bottom of the dam last night and saw an Osprey with a huge wingspan pull a fish out of the water about 30 away from me. I was convinced it was the same one judging from the video. Strong work gentlemen…strong work!

  14. fourgotten says:

    Excellent work! Calling the CRC was certainly the right call… they are an AWESOME organization that does great work! AAMOF, they just released an owl this evening which I had found injured by the side of the road and that they had been fantastic enough to come and pick up.

    Their success stories are numerous and fantastic!

    Anyone who has spare time (or money) on their hands should seriously consider providing that time/money to the Raptor Center, or at LEAST go up and check out their facility.

    Again, I applaude you for doing the right thing!

  15. MR says:

    There are several osprey on the McKenzie that make a habit of taking hooked fish while an angler is playing them. Mnay of these shadow boats downriver through the most planter-rific areas, waiting for their opportunity. I’ve seen quite a few that have line hanging from them from these encounters. If you have an osprey making a play for your “breadside,” cool as it is to witness, realize that this puts the bird at risk and consider moving on to fish somewhere else.

  16. Sarah says:

    That was an excellent story and video. Thanks!

  17. Liz says:

    Awesome story and video! Thank you for sharing – I am posting to our facebook page:

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