The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a report of an osprey that was shot while it was perched on the mast of of the US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum.
On Tuesday, FWC Officer Johnathan Hettel responded to a call of an osprey being shot with a “pellet gun” at Truman Annex in Key West. The witness said five shots were fired from a staff member of the US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum, and that the bird was struck, spiraled to the ground and landed on the pier.
In Monroe County, the osprey is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and as a State Species of Special Concern.
Officers said they made contact with the subject, Josiah Fetzer, 22, who admitted to shooting at the bird in an attempt to get it off the ship’s mast. Fetzer had been helping with maintenance at the museum for three months. The osprey was taken to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital for surgery by the Key West Wildlife Center.
Bill Verge, director of the USCGC Ingham Museum, said that the bird was a frequent visitor to other parts of the vessel. He stated that Fetzer tried to scare it off the mast with a BB gun but was not instructed to do so.
Fetzer was issued a second degree misdemeanor citation.
UPDATE: The bird’s wound was treated and its wing was surgically repaired. It is continuing to heal at the Marathon Veterinary Hospital and is expected to have additional x-rays in two weeks.
Note: Information in the crime report is provided by area law enforcement. Please remember all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.