The weekend prior I caught a 5-lb largemouth on a 12-inch worm, so I was pumped and had been smokin’ them all week. Friday and Saturday had brought in torrential thunderstorms. Any fisherman will tell you post-frontal conditions generally means horrible fishing! Sunday was overcast and hotter than a possum in a pepper patch! I was struggling to find fish. I had managed to land a few busting on schools of shad on the ledges, when I saw an osprey dive from its nest and hit the water. Osprey usually hover over a target and then dive-bomb the fish. Then after feeding they will dive down and glide across the water dragging their feet to wash them, so I figured that was what it was doing and continued fishing.
Now I was about 200 yards from the osprey nest that was about halfway up a high-tension power line tower, when I noticed the osprey were still diving at the water and still raising all kinds of hell. That’s when I noticed they were diving at something splashing in the water. Curious, I paddled closer. It was diving at another bird struggling in the water. I thought, “A baby has fallen from the nest. I’m going to save a baby osprey!” I paddled like mad to the struggling bird. I have rescued several birds from the water, including a bat and a great blue heron caught in fishing line. But saving a bird of prey would be freakin’ awesome!
As I got closer, the desperate parents were sounding the alarm with their high-pitch screams. I said, “I’m going to get it for you mama, just give me a minute to get there!” As I paddled, I began to formulate a plan. I can nudge it to the back of my boat and lift aboard with my paddle. I finally get there and thought, that baby looks awfully black. And that’s when I realized, it’s not a baby or an osprey. It’s a buzzard! A FREAKIN’ VULTURE! An ugly as homemade sin, black-headed vulture. In case you don’t know, black-headed vultures can be pretty darn nasty, and by nasty, I mean aggressive! They don’t just eat dead stuff, they kill stuff! “Oh well, I guess I’ll have to save this ugly sucker!”
I tried to pick it up with my paddle, but it kept falling off. It bit at my paddle and boat, in an attempt to pull itself out of the water and right into my lap. It almost made it twice. I envisioned an Alfred Hitchcock scene, a real-life angry bird attack, starring me! The thought of having a 2-foot tall, very terrified bird in my lap did not sound very appealing. It scared the crap out of me with 50 inches of wet wings and flipping my kayak over in 20 feet of water. And thousands of dollars of gear sinking to the bottom. As I pushed him back, I said, “That 🤬 ain’t happening buddy!” I finally got my paddle under him just right and quickly pushed him to the back deck, where I had a piece of wood strapped on. It was able to grab the board with its beak and pull itself up with a little help from me. It quickly shook itself off and just sat there.
I paddled to the closest bank, which was at the base of the electrical tower. I parallel parked against the rip rap and my ugly little buddy hopped right off and disappeared into the brush, without so much as a thank you! He did leave me a gift on the back of my boat, which I now refer to as the poop deck. Tight lines to you all!