NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two Long Island fishermen were being credited with a daring rescue of a baby osprey that became entangled in a fishing line and fell into the waters off East Hampton.
The men had to climb atop a tall nest and wade through chest high waters to bring the taloned bird safely ashore.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, a mother osprey circled high above its nest overlooking Gardiner’s Bay in East Hampton, but minus one of her two chicks. That’s because the missing baby osprey is now recovering at a wildlife refuge center after being rescued from a near death experience by two men.
Dell Cullum and his friend Mike Kromer used a ladder from Cullum’s truck to rescue the osprey after a fisherman noticed it had become badly entangled in a fishing net, but their first effort nearly pulled the two men out to sea.
“The current from the beach and the channel was too strong, it sucked the ladder in and it was pulling us in so we had to abort the rescue,” Cullum said.
The men decided to wait for low tide and tried again.
“Mike held the ladder down in chest high water while I climbed up about 35-ft and started untangling the line from the chick,” Cullum said.
Cullum said the ospreys didn’t try to peck at him as he untangled the line and pushed the injured the osprey out of the nest.
“I looked up and saw the bird come off the edge of the nest, it kind of flapped its wings and then kind of nosedived into the water,” Mike Kromer added.
Despite the osprey’s supersharp talons Kromer dove into the water, grabbed the osprey and began swimming ashore, although he found it a difficult task in his street clothes.
“It sure is, especially with sneakers and a hooded sweatshirt on, but you have to keep the animal calm,” Kromer said.
They took the bird to a Hampton Bays refuge center where the prognosis is good.
“It has a very swollen elbow, we did take an x-ray but fortunately nothing is broken,” Ginnie Frati said.
The good Samaritans called it a happy ending.
Once the osprey’s wing full heals rescue center volunteers will return it to the nest.
Because the injured osprey — a member of the hawk family — is still young, refuge center workers say they are unable to determine its sex, so we don’t yet whether it’s a boy or a girl.