red maples and a young osprey

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the red maples surrounding the ponds and wetlands in my area seemed to reach their autumnal peak sometime last week. i wish i had been going for walks every day to really soak in the brief period of time when these little maples are bursting with red and orange color. the rest of the woods were still primarily green last week, but as you approached the edge of a pond you would soon see brilliant color glimmering through the gaps in the pines, hemlocks, and other still-green deciduous trees.

last friday Darin and I grabbed a canoe and meant to head out before the sunset to paddle around our Spruce pond and see the foliage before it faded. almost right away we spotted something strange in the water, however. what looked like some kind of animal next to a rock turned out to be an osprey floating in the water! how bizarre! we were frozen in our canoe observing this amazing bird and floated right by while i snapped photos. as the initial amazement passed, we soon realized that this raptor was injured. the osprey was clearly agitated by our presence because it started “swimming” away by pushing itself up and forward with its wings. as we watched it from a distance he or she made its way toward the weeds and shore. our friends came down to see this strange and heartbreaking sight. a decision was made to call someone about possibly rescuing this distressed raptor. i’m sad to say that while we attempted a rescue and the osprey did not resist us, it soon passed away before we were able to drive him or her into town. we at least were able to get it out of the cold water and my friend brought the osprey to the local audubon, where hopefully they may be able to taxidermy it and then use for education.

we think that the osprey was young due to its downy feathers and are still so curious as to what happened that it should end up “swimming” in the water like that. our eyes could not see any obvious injuries or feathers askew. what could have happened?

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