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The waters that are the lifeblood for Watts Bar Lake’s many ospreys almost took the life of one of the birds last month.
It took a cooperative effort to save the youngster.
Larry Steidle of Blue Springs Marina was working when he happened to see an exhausted young fledgling poke its head from the water.
Steidle had watched the bird — one of three raised in a nest atop an old silo at the marina — grow with two nestmates. The other two young had left the nest successfully, but the third one — the runt of the group — apparently flew into the water and could not get out on its own, he said.
Steidle fished it out with a net. He said it was too weak to walk on its own.
He called state wildlife officials, and Tennessee Wildlife Officer Brad Daugherty came to the rescue. Daugherty examined the young bird, which has talons that could easily pierce flesh.
The osprey talked back to Daugherty, but put up no fight, Steidle recounted.
Although the bird had left the nest to try and make it on its own, Daugherty decided the best course of action would be to return it to the nest.
When the wildlife officer reached the top of the silo, the bird saw its old home.
“It jumped right out of his hands into its nest,” Steidle said.
From there, the parents took over. Normally, the parents of fledglings stop feeding young to encourage the birds to leave and start feeding themselves. But both parents began catching fish for the young osprey and kept feeding it until he was strong enough to make another attempt at life on his own.
Steidle is happy to report all three young are thriving in the vicinity.