Osprey rescued after getting trapped by balloon ribbon in nest
BERKELEY — Conservationists have freed a baby bird that was entangled in a balloon ribbon at Island Beach State Park.
Ben Wurst, of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, who was on nearby Sedge Island, saw the young osprey with a red ribbon wrapped around its leg while viewing the Pete McLain live osprey cam. The cam is trained on its nest 35 feet above Island Beach State Park.
"Since I was so close by I started contacting folks at Island Beach State Park to get the ball rolling," he said. Members of the Seaside Heights Department of Public Works came with a cherry picker and lifted Wurst to the nest where he was able to remove the ribbon. He also removed plastic debris that was in the nest so the ospreys wouldn't get tangled again.
Wurst said these bird soften use things they find on the beach, including trash, to build their nests.
The birds also like to decorate their nests and are attracted to colorful things like ribbons and plastic.
"It's become so prevalent in our society these birds see it as another resource for them. They just don't know it's harmful to them. You can easily compare eel grass, which is a type of seaweed they use as nesting material, and balloon ribbon," Wurst said.
Humans can help by never releasing balloons into the air, Wurst said. It's a myth that balloons just disappears in the atmosphere, drift into space and explode or biodegrade.
"They go up and they come back down and a lot of times they land in the ocean," Wurst said.
If you do see plastic bags, single-use water bottles and utensils on the ground, Wurst suggests you can also help by picking it up.