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Updated: 12/21/2017 08:30:02AM

Dirty birdies and boats

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PRWC photo

This osprey is recovering from being shot, but it's not known whether it will be able to fly again.

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An osprey dining atop someone's mast.

By Robin Jenkins

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As a boat owner, you have to hate it when some filthy osprey lands on your boat and makes a mess. When one of those nasty creatures sits atop your mast, it shreds your canvas with its fierce talons. If it pauses up there to eat, the parts of the fish even the dirty bird doesn’t want end up all over your deck. And don’t forget, the bird’s disgusting droppings can be so acidic they eat away at the finishes that you so painstakingly wash, polish, and shine. What is a boat owner to do?

Well, one thing a boat owner cannot do is shoot the bird. Unfortunately, that is exactly what someone in one Punta Gorda Isles neighborhood is doing. Peace River Wildlife Center has admitted two ospreys in the past few weeks with similar gunshot wounds. One bird was killed almost immediately — horrified neighbors watched as the bird bled to death on their dock within 30 minutes. The other is still in rehabilitation at PRWC. The injury from the pellet in his wing is healing, but his ability to fly is still questionable. Not only do the birds suffer penetrating wounds from the pellet, but blunt force trauma from tumbling to the ground, or pneumonia from plummeting into the water. If the bird is not releasable, it will have to be euthanized.

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