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Aug 18, 2016 4:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Rescuers Euthanize Osprey Entangled In Balloon String And Found Near Quogue Pond

Aug 23, 2016 1:22 PM

An adult osprey found tangled in balloon strings in Quogue was euthanized on August 17 at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center.

Volunteers responding to a call about an injured bird found the osprey near Ogden Pond, with several old balloon strings wrapped around its body, including its wings. The balloon strings cut off the supply of blood to the raptor’s wings, explained Virginia Frati, executive director of the Hampton Bays wildlife center. All of the bird’s flight bones are located in its wing tips, which are most vulnerable.

After determining that it would never fly again, rescuers made the difficult decision to put the bird down.

“He was not a good candidate for [rehabilitation],” Ms. Frati said last Thursday, August 18, while noting that volunteers could not determine if the bird was male or female. “They are not good in captivity—they refuse to eat … Everyone was very upset here.”

Though their numbers have rebounded since the banning of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly referred to as DDT, ospreys are still considered a species of “special concern” by monitoring agencies—a label they have carried since 1999.

While balloon strings are dangerous, broken fishing lines are typically a bigger issue for the East End’s wildlife, according to Ms. Frati. Still, she urges the public to be more responsible when disposing of old balloons as they can end up inadvertently killing wildlife.

“We were very upset here and angry about the balloons,” Ms. Frati said. “It’s difficult because people let them go for memorials, and it’s a nice thought—you hate to criticize that—but there are other options to releasing balloons for memorial purposes.”

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Helium balloons for graduation, quincieras, birthdays, can be found along the beach all the time. Back in the 80's they used to be released at grand openings. It's about time they are banned.
By lirider (284), Hampton Bays on Aug 18, 16 10:35 PM
3 members liked this comment
Really awful - The number of balloons and strings and ribbons in the sea and washed up on the shoreline cannot be measured - and people think as they release them to the sky - "Where do they go?" - Well - they kill fish, birds, turtles and are terrible garbage that does not biodegrade - and someone else has to pick up the garbage. Typical. Ban them yes and inform the public more - there are better ways to celebrate than by releasing harmful trash -
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Aug 18, 16 11:08 PM
Great job as usual by the Wildlife Rescue Center!
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Aug 22, 16 4:16 PM
Sad.
By johnj (1017), Westhampton on Aug 24, 16 11:37 AM
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