A daring rescue of an osprey entangled in twine took place in Oliver Monday, thanks to the work of a man willing to shimmy 30 feet up a pole to the bird's nest.
The rescue was facilitated by SORCO, the South Okanagan's raptor rescue facility.
"We got the call [Sunday night] from a gentleman in Oliver, it was off of Road 22, a big bird watching area," said Dale Belvedere, SORCO general manager.
"He had passed the nest in the morning and saw the osprey in there and he wasn't sure so he went back around 6:30 p.m. [Sunday night]."
He saw that the osprey was still in the same position, so Monday morning Belvedere and others got binoculars to check out the nest. Sure enough, the bird was stuck.
"We could clearly see it was caught up in twine that [people] use to tie bales of hay together. It was one of the adults, the babies were right there next to it," Belvedere said.
The organization started putting out calls to local businesses that might have equipment to access the nest but nobody was able to help. Luckily, Belvedere knew one of the SORCO board members had experience in his professional life climbing poles before he retired, and she asked him if he could step up.
"Thankfully he still had all his equipment!" Belvedere said.
Around noon Monday, the man climbed the pole and cut the twine, and the parent osprey immediately flew away.
"Everyone's fine and the babies are happy," Belvedere said. "We're happy too of course. It just all came together. It was a little nerve-wracking though to see somebody go up a pole like that!"
While this was a happy ending, Belvedere noted that much of the base of the osprey's nest was made of twine, likely discarded improperly locally and picked up by the bird. She urges everyone in the area to be careful how they dispose of material that could possibly tangle up a bird, especially ospreys which are a species on the brink in the region.
SORCO is a non-profit that services the entire Okanagan and West Kootenays rescuing birds of prey. To learn more or to donate to their work, click here.