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Human Trash and an Osprey

Don’t throw your garbage on the ground ya heathens.

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The stuff dangling off the osprey’s talon is trash that some human left. The bird is getting around fine now and hopefully the string will break off before the bird becomes entangled. Don’t litter, pickup what you can and for god’s sake don’t release balloons.

This article is 5 years old and the situation hasn’t improved.

More Plastic in the World Means More Plastic in Osprey Nests – National Audubon Society

Human waste routinely finds its way into birds’ nests, and it is especially common with Ospreys. The birds use a huge variety of materials to build their nests, including sticks, bark, sod, grass, vines and algae. Plastic items mimic the appearance of many of these natural building supplies, and Osprey find plastic trash mixed in with their natural nesting materials in beach wrack lines, making it hard for them to distinguish what’s what, Wurst says. “While Osprey see plastic as a useful resource for them to build their nests from, they don’t see the potential danger.”

By 2012, Wurst realized the problem was worsening, so he began removing the trash and collecting it to raise awareness of the issue. Wurst’s Osprey nest-trash collection includes all kinds of plastic items, including unusual finds such as plastic shovels, flags, and polyester hats. But he believes the most dangerous and deadly items are the most common ones he finds in nests: plastic ribbon from balloons and monofilament fishing line. “Trash like monofilament, ribbon, and string can easily entangle a foot, leg, or wing of an adult or young Osprey,” he says. In addition, “single use plastic bags or other plastic sheeting can choke or smother them.”

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.