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Osprey crash lands at Entebbe International Airport

Tony Ofungi, eTN Uganda Correspondent  Jul 30, 2016

UGANDA (eTN) - Osprey crash landing?! Not this time, for it happened almost exactly two years ago in the hamlet town of Mityana West of the capital Kampala, when a military Osprey of the US Air force on mission to South Sudan had to make an emergency landing ostensibly due to bad weather, attracting large crowds that gathered to catch a glimpse of the aircraft on the ground, a first for many.

Photo courtesy of The Monitor

This time it wasn’t another aircraft that crash landed in Entebbe, Uganda’s international airport, but as if in premonition of what was to follow, it was a feathered Osprey that crash landed after colliding with an aircraft after migrating for over 5,000 miles from Europe to Africa. The ground staff at the airport discovered the distressed Osprey at short of the runway and immediately called the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) staff who dispatched a rescue team.

“Our team rushed to the scene after they found out that the Osprey had collided with a plane and had its wings shattered. We had to amputate them when we got the bird to the center,” said Isaac Mujansi, the Marketing and Business Development Officer at the center. “The 1.8-meter-long Osprey had a tag ring which identified it as belonging to The Finnish Museum of Natural History. When we contacted Finland, their center confirmed that the bird belonged to them. They were very grateful to know its whereabouts,” he added.

Barbara Arapo, a medic at the center, said that the Osprey sometimes known as the Sea Hawk or Fish Hawk, is one of the many species of seasonal migratory birds, with each having its own behavioral pattern for migration. Some bird species fly away due to climatic changes, others are looking for food, and some migrate to breed. Mujansi confirmed that there has been an increase in the number of migratory bird species recorded at UWEC since December last year.

According to National Geographic, most ospreys are migratory birds that breed in the north and migrate south for the winter. They lay eggs (typically three), which both parents help to incubate. Osprey eggs don't hatch all at once, but are staggered in time so that some siblings are older and more dominant.

According to Africa Geographic, Uganda’s top bird list includes the rare Shoebilled Stork, Green Breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill, Great Blue Turaco, Shellys Crimson Wing, Standard-winged Nightjar, Short-tailed Warbler, Doherty’s Bushshrike, Bar-tailed Trogon, and the Black-breasted Barbet, not forgetting the endemic Fox’s Weaver.

Speedy recovery to our feathered friend.

Osprey crash lands at Entebbe International Airport
Photo: The Monitor

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