600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
August 01, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073
Fish hatchery worker saves osprey nestlings after nest burns
When an osprey nest on a powerline at a fish hatchery burst into flames
Thursday, a hatchery worker rescued two young osprey and helped reunite them with
the parent birds in a new nest.
Mike Rogers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Ringold
Springs Fish Hatchery discovered the nest fire when the hatchery lost electrical power
Thursday morning. The hatchery is located on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia
River in southeast Washington's Franklin County where a rainstorm soaked the area
the night before. The wet nest, built by the fish-eating birds of prey on a power pole
cross arm, evidently shorted out the electrical line and both the nest and the cross arm
went up in flames.
Rogers called the Big Bend Public Utility District (PUD) whose crew helped him
find three osprey nestlings on the ground. Rogers put the two that were still alive in a
cage and gave them water while the parent birds flew anxiously overhead. With the
help of local fisherman Troy Schumacher, Rogers constructed a new nest with a
wooden frame, tree branches, and wood chips.
After the PUD crew put up a new power pole and re-routed the wires, Rogers
and Schumacher placed the new nest atop the old pole. The two young osprey were
placed in the new nest Thursday afternoon. Rogers suspects they were rejoined by the
parent birds that night because by Friday morning he witnessed them tending to the
young and rearranging wood chips in the nest.
Thanks to Rogers' quick action, the young osprey should be back on schedule to
fledge, or fly from the nest for the first time, any day now.