ATV riders experienced a unique event earlier this summer. Front, from left, Karen Dalot (holding osprey chick ), Bob Dalot and Diane Levesque. Back, Carl Johnson, Paul and Janelle Leblond and Gerry Levesque. Submitted photo


JAY — The ATV riding season is winding down, but there are still plenty of warm September days to enjoy riding on the trails. The Whistle Stop Trail has limited riding hours, due to pipeline construction, but be sure to obey the signs and detours. One group of riders enjoyed a unique opportunity. One Sunday in August, seven friends got together for an ATV ride which turned into a remarkable experience.

“This was something we will never forget,” said Karen Dalot of Jay. “We went to South China and started out on the trails. While resting at the edge of the woods game warden David Ross approached the club members and asked if we were the people who called about the osprey?”

An osprey is a large hawk with a length of 22-25 inches and a wingspan of 4.5 to 6 feet and weighs approximately 4 pounds. Ross explained that a baby osprey had fallen out if its nest and a fellow ATV rider had called with concerns about the chick. It was reported as having flies buzzing around its head and wing area. In the previous days a wind storm had come, and it is believed that the chick was blown out it’s nest during the storm.

An osprey chick that had fallen out of the nest gave ATV riders a close look at the magnificent bird.

“He asked us to watch for it and we headed off into the woods.”

As they rounded a corner to come onto the power lines, they saw the game wardens’ truck parked.

“We pulled over to see if he had found anything. Much to our delight David Ross was walking towards us holding the chick. We asked if we could approach him and view the bird. Our group of ATV riders were asking questions and never expected what would happen next. He asked if we wanted to hold the bird,” said Karen. “Now I have to admit, the size of these talons made me think twice. For being such a young bird, they sure do have large nails. The game warden mentioned this is a once in a lifetime moment and I knew he was right. My husband handed me his gloves.”

The game warden explained to hold him with a firm grip but not to squeeze tight. He even offered to take a few photos so we could all be in the picture. After he placed the chick on the floor of his truck and drove away, he brought the chick to Avian Haven a bird rehabilitation site.

Preliminary exams showed that the osprey had blood in both eyes indicating some sort of head trauma – most likely when the fledgling fell from the nest. He had no wing or leg fractures. After several days of treatments, the vet determined that he was completely blind and damage to the eyes were not recoverable.

“I am very sorry to say the bird was euthanized. The Western ME ATV Club would like to thank Maine Game Warden David Ross for this remarkable experience. Please look for a club to join, you never know what remarkable experience you may encounter,” she added.

Western Maine ATV Club meetings are the first Wednesday of each month at the Jay Town Office 7 p.m. You can also visit us on facebook or our website

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