Heron Shows No Panic In Rescue Attempt
A baby green heron chick who fell out of it's nest last week quickly went from an easy and routine rescue to a quite complicated one. Over the course of three days myself and Wild Care worked to reunited the hatchling with it's mother.
The hatchling was found on the ground by a tree-trimmer who had been stripping the trees in the back yard of a private property. (BTW - tree-trimmers and tree-cutters should know 1) spring and summer are the worst times of year to tend to trees because many animals nest during this time and 2) always check the tree for nests and determine whether or not it's an active nest). Anyways, as it turned out the tree-trimmer was actually very helpful and willing to help in this situation.
Heron's are highly migratory and frequent the Cape for nesting in the spring and summer. However, they are very difficult to spot in the wild given their secretive nature. The chances that the hatchling would be a heron, and not one of the hundreds of species of song birds we have on the Cape, was slim to none. We were now dealing with a federally protected species.
The Cape Cod Times (CCT) followed us through the course of the day while we examined all nests in the area in an attempt to identify where exactly this little guy fell from. We soon concluded that none of the nests in the area proved to be "active"; meaning that there were no signs of feces, food, feathers, egg shells...nothing. We were spotting an adult on the perimeter of the property throughout the day and believed it to be the mother. However, with most of the trees on the property now stripped we deemed it unlikely that the mother would enter the area again. She was obviously circulating the property and fearful to re-enter.
Fellow animal rescuer, Mark Vogel from ARL Boston, willingly came down to the Cape to climb a tree in the area and build a new makeshift nest for the hatchling...in the area where the adult was spotted. The CCT tells this story.
So as it turns out, the adult that we spotted in the area was not tending to the new nest. And after a horrible storm the night after placing the hatchling into the tree, we made the decision to pull it from the nest and get it into intensive care.
It's always best to allow for baby birds to reunite with their parents if at all possible (there's absolutely no truth to the rumor that once you touch a bird it's mother will not return). However, after three days the hatchling was looking more and more dehydrated.
Today, the heron is growing strong at Wild Care and is actually fishing on it's own! The rehabilitation of the heron will not only take the wonderful knowledge of Wild Care's ED, Lela Larned, but will take a majority of her time. They have created a wonderful habitat for the heron, similar to the environment it was found. We all hope for the best!
If you would like an update on the little one, just let me know....