A rare migratory bird flew 6,948 kilometres from Finland to land in Kenya. The bird, a 4 year old Osprey, landed in West Imbo, a rural area adjascent to Lake Victoria. After it was spotted and rescued by Mr. Walter Oloo – a local, it was handed over to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) – a Kenyan state corporation that is mandated to conserve and manage Kenya’s wildlife.
The bird had bruises on its legs, seemingly from being caught in a fishing net and struggling to free itself. Despite losing some weight and being dehydrated, it was healthy. It was delivered to the KWS Veterinary department on January 23, 2020, where it was stabilised with IV fluids and provided with a proper diet with plans of being released into the wild.
Osprey’s identifying details (Museum Zool, Helsinki Finland, M-68528) were found on a ring on its leg. It was a four-year-old male and weighed 950 grams. Additionally, it was a fish-eating bird and was expected to head back northwards in early March.
Despite all the best efforts by KWS, Osprey died during the weekend due to problems associated with long-term starvation which precipitated systemic organ failure.
About the bird
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), also called sea hawk, river hawk or fish hawk is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm in length and 180 cm across the wings. Despite their size, their bodies are slender, with long, narrow wings and long legs.
Ospreys fly with a marked kink in their wings, making an M-shape. Ospreys are brown above and white below, and overall, they are whiter than most raptors. The wings are mostly white with a prominent dark patch at the wrists. The head is white with a broad brown stripe through the eye. Juveniles have white spots on the back and buffy shading on the breast.
They feed on fish and fly on steady wingbeats and bowed wings or circling high in the sky over relatively shallow water in search for fish. They often hover briefly before diving, feet first, to grab a fish. You can often clearly see an Osprey’s catch in its talons as the bird carries it back to a nest or perch.
Ospreys are mostly found near water bodies: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs. Their conspicuous stick nests are placed in the open on poles, channel markers, and dead trees, often over water. Osprey nests are built of sticks and lined with bark, sod, grasses, vines, algae, or flotsam and jetsam. The male usually fetches most of the nesting material, sometimes breaking dead sticks off nearby trees as he flies past while the female arranges it. After generations of adding to the nest year after year, Ospreys can end up with nests 10 to 13 ft deep and 3 to 6 ft in diameter – easily big enough for a human to sit in.
This article was first published by The African Exponent.
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