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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


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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.