By Barb Walker of Florida
I live in Pinellas County, Florida. Recently I learned that a pair of ospreys which have been nesting in a cell tower for nearly a decade were about to lose their home. The nest was damaging the tower and the nest was scheduled for a permitted removal.
In the past, I have erected at least 12 artificial nesting structures for ospreys but never one as challenging as this location in Oldsmar. Luckily, Boy Scout Noah Thompson stepped in to help. He’s raised $1,000 and I have raised $1,000. He will be building a platform which we will install on top of a standard utility pole right next to the tower.
The cell phone company, T Mobile, has been great. They let me know when they would be removing the nest so we could retain it until the platform goes up, when it will be placed for the ospreys to use again. I went out to the tower right before the materials were to be removed to get one last photo of the huge nest in the tower. The sun was in my eyes, so I stepped around the back side of the tower for a better picture. That’s when I saw her. A beautiful calico cat sitting there looking at me.
There Were More….
Then I saw a shopping cart full of empty cat food cans. Someone has been feeding the homeless cats. Then I saw more cats, including a nursing mother and a couple of ‘hemingways’ (six-toed cats). I knew the mother, who is about 11 months herself, would not be able to get out of the way if debris were falling from the tower and the kittens would not be able to jump over the fence like the rest of the adult cats.
The Rescue Begins
I called my friend Christina to bring a cage. She was able to retrieve the mother and the kittens and I took them home with me. A local vet, Dr. Stupar, from Ridgemoor Animal Hospital, donated his services and made sure they were negative for feline leukemia and he de-wormed all the cats. The North Pinellas Humane Society will spay, neuter and vaccinate them next week for $100 and, after that, I’ll foster the kittens until suitable homes are found through the Suncoast Animal League.
The mother we call Hope and she’ll stay here with us. She is very thin and needs rehabilitation and TLC. She is friendly and will allow all of us to pet her, but she is scared and not trusting too. I never thought that saving the ospreys would lead to saving 5 cats, but I am glad that my involvement will make a difference to so many different animals. I also maintain a wildlife cam. To see osprey platform pictures, go to www.dunedinospreycam.org The cam will be live again before the ospreys return in the November/December time frame.
Surprise…Here They Are! – PHOTOS
The mother cat and her kittens are absolutely beautiful. Please enjoy these special photos of them. And, by the way, a trap-neuter-return program is also being looked at for the remaining cats.
Do You Rescue Too?
Today’s rescuer Barb Walker is one of the latest animal lovers to join in The Great Animal Rescue Chase, a worldwide event, free for all. If you have a rescue story and photos to share, please post them in our showcase. You never know who you might inspire!
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