Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg neighbors rescue osprey that had been struck by BB

ST. PETERSBURG — Through the rain, Patty Bodimer saw a flash of brown and white: An osprey, clearly injured, thrashed in the canal behind her home.

"The docks were just too high — it couldn't escape," said Bodimer, 52, of the Venetian Isles neighborhood. "I was terrified it would drown."

Her daughter, 13-year-old Calista, quickly called neighbor Jessica Silk, a skilled kayaker.

Jessica, 15, pulled on leather gloves, paddled into the water and snatched the federally protected bird of prey.

"You could tell it was pretty desperate," she said. "It didn't resist me at all."

A Clearwater Audubon Society rescuer, summoned by Bodimer on Friday evening, drove the osprey to Busch Gardens for emergency surgery. A veterinarian stripped a BB pellet from its right wing.

The shooting is sad but not rare, said Barbara Walker, a Clearwater Audubon Society board member. In the past two months, nine ospreys have been shot around Tampa Bay.

"We rescue more birds from shooting incidents than anything else," Walker said Sunday. "It's alarming — a growing problem."

In November, a Shore Acres couple found a near-dead female osprey, both wings shot, on a sidewalk. The bird was also transported to Busch Gardens.

Recent cases from Belleair, Palm Harbor and Tampa are grimly similar: Ospreys are discovered shot in residential areas, dead or barely alive.

Ospreys, which frequently make their large nests atop telephone or light poles, are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and by state law.

Disturbing the birds can lead to hefty fines and jail time. Removing an active osprey nest without written permission is prohibited.

But shooters are rarely caught, said Lee Fox, founder of the Save Our Sea Birds Sanctuary in Sarasota, where Busch Gardens vets often send injured birds to recover.

"If Fish and Wildlife officers went after all of those calls, they'd be doing nothing else," Fox said. "It happens all the time."

Ospreys, cranes, loons — a wide variety of protected birds —are commonly found limp and unclaimed, shot for the sake of shooting.

"Maybe the shooters are crazy or think it's fun," Lee said. "I think you'd have to be crazy to think it's fun."

The osprey rescued Friday evening on Venetian Isles was recovering Sunday at Busch Gardens, Walker said. A Busch Gardens spokeswoman could not be reached.

The Audubon Society has posted a $700 reward for information leading to the shooter's arrest.

The bird, a male, is eventually expected to join the female bird found in Shore Acres at the Save Our Sea Birds Sanctuary.

Audubon members suspect the birds — found less than a mile apart — may have been mates, Walker said.

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

Comments

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Dec. 15, midday:01 563 0000e_SRit95765Fri., Dec. 15, evening:12 287 1492e_SRit04851Fantasy 5Fri., Dec. 15...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is very little these days that can dampen the mood of Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise, whose Gators knocked off reigning national champion Stanford in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals and face Nebraska tonight for the title. Not...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 7 hours ago