Wounded osprey found in Gypsum | VailDaily.com

Wounded osprey found in Gypsum

GYPSUM — Someone brandishing a pellet gun seriously injured an osprey hawk in the Gypsum area last week.

If the perpetrator is located, he or she could face a serious fine.

According to Craig Wescoatt of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a pedestrian found the injured bird in the Brooks Lane area and contacted Vail dispatch. Wescoatt was sent to the area to investigate the situation and he found the injured osprey in the area.

The bird was unable to fly and Wescoatt captured and took it to a veterinarian. The bird sustained two pellet shots but is expected to survive. It is now being cared for at an animal rehabilitation facility in Silt.

"The main message I want to get out is it is illegal to shoot raptors and the fines are substantial," said Wescoatt.

The fine for shooting a raptor is up to $10,000 and the fine for shooting a bird that is classified as endangered is up to $100,000.

Fast Facts: Osprey

The osprey is very distinctive fish-hawk, formerly classified with other hawks but now placed in a separate family of its own. Along coastlines, lakes, and rivers almost worldwide, the osprey is often seen flying over the water, hovering, and then plunging feet-first to catch fish in its talons. After a successful strike, the bird rises heavily from the water and flies away, carrying the fish head-forward with its feet. Bald eagles sometimes chase ospreys and force them to drop their catch. In many regions, landowners put up poles near the water to attract nesting ospreys.

The osprey was seriously endangered by effects of pesticides in mid-20th century. Since DDT and related pesticides were banned in 1972, ospreys have made a good comeback in many parts of North America.

http://www.audubon.org