Entanglement and Osprey

Posted August 30, 2021 by Vindi Sekhon

Known for their technique of diving for fish feet-first, Ospreys are a majestic sight in the lower mainland where they inhabit lakes, rivers, and ponds.  

Unfortunately, entanglement is a large problem for these birds. When fishing lines and other materials are not properly disposed of, birds will use them as supplies for their nests – leading to entanglement. When these large birds get trapped in twine, they can no longer hunt fish or provide for their young.  

In the past, the Wildlife Rescue Association has seen four Ospreys in our care due to entanglement. Each of these Ospreys was found in the water by Good Samaritans concerned about the health of these birds.  

 About Osprey 

When healthy and thriving, Ospreys are easily identifiable with their extraordinary brown and white M-shaped wings and their large size! These unique birds are essential to the biodiversity of BC. Habitat and food for these birds are the same – with a diet that mostly revolves around fish (which is also where they get their water), the rivers and lakes they live by are essential to their health.  

Ospreys search for trees in open surroundings which helps them find ground predators when searching for a nest. Their nests, made of sticks and lined with grasses, are one reason why entanglement happens so often for them. When discarded materials – particularly fishing lines – are left out, Ospreys will often use them as supplies for their nests, leading to them getting entangled in these man-made materials.  

How to Help 

Thankfully, there are many easy and simple ways to help Ospreys, such as…  

  •  Treating their habitats with care. Lake and rivers are a host to many different types of wildlife – all of them deserving of our respect. When visiting these habitats, clean up after yourself and your group. Since Ospreys rely on their habitat so much, their home must be treated with respect. 
  • Planting native trees, flowers, and bushes. While helping conserve our wildlife may seem intimidating, there is an uncomplicated way to help from home – using native plants! When gardening, use plants that are local to BC, as birds and bees are more likely to gravitate to local plants for food and shelter. As well, this can help combat invasive plants. 
  • Avoiding chemicals! Since pesticides can go downstream and negatively affect wildlife, one manageable way to help is to use natural alternatives to pesticides and other chemicals, such as sprays made of vegetable oil or garlic. 
  • Keeping pets close. By keeping our pets on a leash, we can make sure that wildlife remains undisturbed in their natural habitats.  

Of course, another great way to help is to rescue injured wildlife! If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Please contact our Support Centre for support. We will make sure the bird is treated with kindness and compassion.  

 Let’s keep our lakes and rivers clean and protect Ospreys! 

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