Injured Great Blue Heron gets help in St. Pete - WFLA News Channel 8

Injured Great Blue Heron gets help in St. Pete

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For about a month, a Great Blue Heron has made backyards in Shore Acres, his home. Like clockwork, he shows up every day to eat snacks people toss his way. "He comes and stays for hours. Just hangs out by the pool. And we're just trying to make sure he gets fed," Diane Nicola said.

But a close look reveals, this bird is in trouble. It swallowed a fish hook and line. The metal barbs ripped the bird's food pipe, making it difficult for him to eat properly. "Sometimes I just kind of throw all the food over and kind of look away just cuz it's so sad to keep seeing it falling out and then him re-picking it back up and trying to get it down again," Lisa Thompson said.

Financial troubles are keeping the "Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary" from accepting new arrivals, so these neighbors contacted 8 on your side. "I felt like something had to be done, I mean, we see him every day. I feel like he's almost a part of our family now," Thompson said.

First, an Audubon rescuer tried to catch the injured heron. Despite his injuries, the bird can fly, and that's exactly what he did as anyone got too close.

Another day, another attempt... This time with the help of a group of former seabird sanctuary employees and a cast net.  After just a few minutes, Rick Gechter and Greg Slutzki, got him.

The bird didn't like it, but his trip in a carrier is the first step toward his recovery. And it's a first rescue for a new rescue organization. "We're building out of a grass roots movement, we're building some emergency rescue and transport so we can get these injured in pinellas to facilities that can properly take care of the birds" said rescue group founder, Robin Vergara. 

This bird will likely return to shore acres once he heals, to delight neighbors, again.




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