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Calvert County Administrator signed agreement okaying euthanasia of juvenile ospreys

Who’s to blame for two juvenile ospreys being euthanized in late July in Calvert County so that maintenance could be done on ball park lights?

Calvert County officials have consistently maintained, since this to story came to light (I was the first to report the birds were euthanized), they didn’t know the birds would be euthanized under an agreement they signed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services (USDA APHIS WS).

Let’s take a look at that agreement.

Maybe Calvert County Administrator Mark Willis didn’t read what he signed? Maybe he missed the part in the agreement that states, “If relocation of the nest is not possible or deemed appropriate, then WS will dispose of the eggs or young.”

Or maybe he thought he’d be consulted once USDA APHIS WS had the agreement signed and their employee was on the lift taking the birds?

So, who’s to blame?

The birds being taken from the nest and subsequently euthanized would have happened had Calvert County not requested help from APHIS.

It doesn’t matter what Calvert County had seen in the past, as mentioned in a recent Washington Post article about the incident – this agreement, signed by Willis, gave USDA APHIS WS the authority the euthanize the birds.

The birds might not have been euthanized had Calvert County done any due diligence about USDA APHIS or the agreement they signed. I wrote about this in a recent editorial.

And it would not have happened if APHIS WS wasn’t getting blanket depredation permits approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As for the excuse that an osprey nest was posing a hazard to humans – until someone can show evidence of anyone being injured or killed by an osprey nest, that excuse just doesn’t fly.

Thanks to Chris Hoffman for the photos he shared that originally brought all of this to light. And for sharing the photos with me also.

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning investigative and multimedia reporter. She’s also a volunteer bird of prey rescuer.