Royal Athletic Park’s ‘baseball park osprey’ killed by fishing line and lure

Royal Athletic Park's 'baseball park osprey' killed by fishing line and lure
WatchThere's no baseball to watch at Royal Athletic Park right now, but there's another event that plays out at the stadium — a nest of ospreys this year sharing a story of both heartbreak and hope with their dedicated fans.

Way above North Park neighbourhood’s treeline in Victoria, you’ll see them — the baseball field ospreys.

For half a decade now, two adult ospreys have called the bright lights overlooking Royal Athletic Park’s third base, home.

And each year, they have hatchlings.

“In a little while here we’re really hoping to start to see them practice their flying skills up and around their nest because it’s a nice show every year,” said Carson Eto, who lives in the area.

But this year, the neighbourhood is worried the young ones may not make it.

On Monday night, an adult osprey suddenly dropped from the nest, careening down onto a parked truck.

“Shortly after we heard an impact. We looked down the street, we saw this big beautiful bird of prey standing right in the middle of Vancouver Street,” said Eto.

Eto and his friend quickly found that the osprey was tangled up in a significant amount of fishing line. A large fishing lure was also embedded in its wing.

“On the X-ray, it was confirmed that there was a fracture of one of the shoulder bones, as well as the shoulder being dislocated from the left-wing,” said Marguerite Sans, a senior wildlife rehabilitator with BC SPCA’s Wild ARC.

“From those injuries, that bird would never be able to fly again, so, unfortunately, we had to make the decision to humanely euthanize.”

And bird experts say it’s actually fairly common for fishermen to accidentally snag a seahawk.

“It’s really tragic and it’s so avoidable,” said Gill Radcliffe, director of The Raptors centre in Duncan.

“Unfortunately a lot of wildlife gets tangled up in things like that, in fishing lines attached to lures and things, I mean we have to be really responsible about how we dispose of these things.”

Back at the nest, the other mate has returned to take care of the brood. But raising chicks alone, is daunting for any single parent.

“As they grow they need more and more food. If they’ve got 3 or 4 [chicks] for one parent, that’s going to be an enormous task,” said Radcliffe.

But one thing is for sure. The ospreys have an entire neighbourhood keeping watch, over the keepers of North Park.

“We hope we can continue to see them this year, and for years to come,” said Eto.


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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