RICHMOND — Small-town firefighters often hear the jokes about responding to cats stuck in a tree, but local volunteers on Sunday proved these responses can be more than just stories when they rescued an even more unlikely candidate from a tree — a bird.

Firefighters with the Hope Valley-Wyoming Fire Department assisted officials with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management along Corey Trail Sunday afternoon in rescuing an osprey that had tied itself to a branch after getting stuck on some old, discarded fishing line.

Hope Valley Fire Chief Justin Lee praised his responders, many of whom took time in the middle of Mother’s Day to step up and help the osprey.

“It was reported to DEM and, after observing the bird, they contacted us to request help in gaining access,” Lee said. “(Responders) remained calm, were able to slowly and safely free the osprey, and turned it over to DEM officials.”

The call came in at about 1:40 p.m., Lee said. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a bird that was visibly distressed and entangled about 30-feet high with fishing line. Firefighters were able to put a ladder against the tree and make their way up to the bird.

After several minutes, the bird was once again free. The osprey was later treated for minor injuries and has since been released, officials indicated.

Lee said the fishing line was likely picked up while the bird was either nesting or hunting near the banks of nearby rivers or ponds. He added that the response is just the latest example of how volunteer firefighters respond to a growing variety of community needs.

“It goes to show that fire departments today are about so much more that just fighting fires,” Lee said. “We are an all-hazards kind of organization, and I’m proud of these guys for the many things they do to help the community.”

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