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Sheriff is baby Osprey’s hero

Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 8:26 am

Sheriff Wilkins with the baby Osprey he saved.

Sheriff Wilkins with the baby Osprey he saved.

When Rachel and Frank Pugliese called the Northumberland County sheriff’s office last Tuesday for help with a young osprey that had become trapped on the second floor balcony of their home near Walnut Point, they didn’t expect the sheriff himself to come to the bird’s rescue, but he did.

“[Animal Control Officer] Kevin Keeve was off and I couldn’t reach the game warden,” Sheriff C.A. Wilkins said Monday. “So, I went myself.”

Wilkins said that the young osprey had been on its first flight and had landed on the balcony where it had become baffled by chairs above it and narrowly placed balusters that it couldn’t get through.

Wearing gloves as protection against the young fishhawk’s beak and talons, Wilkins threw a towel over it and was able to pick the bird up.

“They look intimidating but won’t hurt you if you’re careful,” Wilkins noted.

Once he had the osprey, Wilkins released it on the Pugliese’s front yard “to catch its breath. It was ready to fly,” he said.

Soon the young osprey was circling overhead in the company of its parents.

The osprey was in a lot better shape than the last one Wilkins rescued. That one was tangled in fishing line and hanging upside down on a pier, he recalled. “It’d had it,” he said, but after he freed it, it gathered its strength and was fine.

“Sheriff Wilkins promptly responded to our call…asking for help and as you can see, he rescued the bird and it flew off to meet it’s anxious mom and dad! Thanks Sheriff Wilkins,” the Puglieses’ said in a recent email.