Learning To Care From People Who Do.

OH NOES!!!!111!!!!!!
OH NOES!!!!111!!!!!!
That's right baby Ospreys of Barnegat Bay. It's that time of year.
That’s right baby Ospreys of Barnegat Bay. It’s that time of year.
It's time for your first visit from Ben Wurst the Osprey Hero.
It’s time for your annual visit from Ben Wurst the Osprey Hero.
And as you're about to find out, you're a bunch of very special little Osprey as you'll be part of Project Red Band.
And as you’re about to find out, you’re a bunch of very special little Osprey as you’ll be part of Project Red Band.
“I duzint think I like Perjekt Red Bend
Sure you do little fella! These special auxiliary red-colored bands will help Ben and the others helping you make a comeback in our Bay understand more about you. And it will let humans you live amongst on the Island get to know you better.
Sure you do little fella! These special auxiliary red-colored bands will help Ben and the others helping you make a comeback in our Bay understand more about you. And it will let humans you live amongst on the Island get to know you better.
And you're especially lucky because this year you get to meet another Osprey Hero: Island Legend Bill Clarke. Bill is president of the Osprey Foundation, and a huge supporter of LBI's local wildlife.
And you’re especially lucky because this year you get to meet another Osprey Hero: Island Legend Bill Clarke. Bill is president of the Osprey Foundation, a huge supporter of the NJ Osprey Project & LBI’s local wildlife, and an all-around immensly enlightened individual.
“I still duzn’t like it!!!!1111!!!! Red iz too flashy!!!!!!!””
Ben Wurst cracks up while Bill Clarke talks to the Osprey babies tenderly, and distracts them with some leftover fish. Bill & Ben treat our local animals as they should be treated: like family.
Ben Wurst cracks up while Bill Clarke talks to the Osprey babies tenderly, and distracts them with some leftover fish. Bill & Ben care for our local animals as they should be cared for: like family.
“OK, well maybe I like the fish part.”
“And unkel Bill & unkel Ben iz real nice.”
You're about to become an Ambassador for your Species little one. Your a very special Fish Mangling Monster.
You’re about to become an Ambassador for your Species little one. You’re a very special Fish Mangling Monster.
Osprey Leg: Like A Furry Dinosaur.
Osprey Leg Detail: Like Furry Dinosaurs.
Ben & Bill: Osprey Heroes, through & through.
Ben & Bill: Osprey Heroes, through & through. Livin’ the dream by caring for things that benefit the whole Island.

On my way home from this adventure, I stopped by the Surf City Coffeehouse for an emergency 24 ounces of caffeine. On my way in the door, a baby finch fell helplessly on the hot pavement from a nest hidden within the sign above, right at my feet.

Before meeting folks like Ben Wurst & Bill Clarke, I would have felt bad for the little bird, but would have had no idea what to do and would have mistakenly believed I was too busy to do anything anyway. And I probably would have believed the woman walking by who told me I shouldn’t touch it because the mother will reject it.

Instead, I picked up the bird, asked for a ladder, put it back, and got my coffee.

While we were putting the bird back, a man sitting on a bench asked what we were doing, and the nice guy from the coffee house who got the ladder said “We’re helping a bird get back in the nest.”

The man snorted, chuckled, sneered, and asked,  “Why???!!??”

Before meeting folks like Ben Wurst & Bill Clarke, I’m not sure I knew the answer. I now know the very, very clear answer, but still wouldn’t have attempted to articulate it to the guy on the bench.

It’s easy to argue why we should care about our amazing Osprey, if only by pointing out that they are an indicator species, so if we ever poison the Bay real bad, they’ll die first and will give us a shot at not dying too.

But caring about some unfortunate “regular bird” nesting in a Surf City strip mall? That’s trickier.

All I can tell you is that if you’re lucky enough to spend enough time around people who care as deeply and give as generously as folks like Ben & Bill, you’ll eventually learn that caring about stuff enough to do something is not only the right thing to do; it’s the short path to happiness, and a good life in this world.

Ben flashes us the peace sign.
Ben chucks our Bay’s plastic trash from the Osprey nest, and flashes us the peace sign.
As do I
As do I. I mean, I’m giving you the peace sign. Not chucking the trash.