Who shot this Osprey? That's what wildlife and law-enforcement officials want to know after the adult female raptor was found mortally wounded on Monday in northwestern Oregon. Shortly after the photo was taken at the Audubon Society of Portland Wildlife Care Center, the bird was euthanized because its injured wing was beyond repair.
A resident of St. Paul, a small town southwest of Portland, called the Audubon Society Monday after finding the Osprey on the ground below its nest. Audubon sent a volunteer, who captured the bird and brought it to the society's Wildlife Care Center, where it was examined and x-rayed. A wing was twisted 360 degrees, and x-rays showed shattered bones and a small-caliber bullet in the wing.
"I've been doing this for 15 years and have seen a lot of injured birds, but it's always a shock when an x-ray comes back and you see a bullet," says Bob Sallinger, the society's conservation director. "How someone can shoot a big beautiful bird that doesn't cause anyone any problems is mind-boggling."
Law-enforcement officers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland are investigating the shooting.
The Osprey's nest is located high on a power pole, and her mate flew back and forth to the nest while the Audubon volunteer captured her. The volunteer could not see young in the nest, but it's likely that eggs have hatched because most nesting Ospreys are feeding chicks by now. Sallinger says Audubon will monitor the nest in hopes that the father will be able to raise the young.
Sadly, the case is not an isolated incident. The bird was the latest victim in a string of disturbing crimes against birds in the state: