Lifeguards at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook caught sight of a waterfowl in distress recently and went out in the water to investigate.
It turned out the bird was an osprey - much larger than the typical seagull or other seabird - and the bird had gotten itself tangled up in a fishing line attached to a weighted sinker. Unable to fly and on the verge of drowning the lifeguard placed a rescue surfboard underneath the osprey, allowing its head to remain above water and provide it with something firm to hold on to.
The Brookhaven Town Environmental Educator was called to the scene who was able to place the bird into a box for transport to the Save the Animals Foundation (STAR) with the help of lifeguards on duty.
A veterinarian at STAR cleared the line, flushed its wound and checked for injuries. The bird was released back near its nest at West Meadow Beach after being cleared by the veterinarian.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine commended the actions of the lifeguards to save the bird’s life. He also wanted litterers about the danger they pose to the environment.
“Please remember not to leave fishing line, lures, or wire on the beach or in the water,” he said. “Litter and debris pose a threat to the health and safety of wildlife and marine life that call our beaches home.”