As I ride my bike back to my house, I have one hand on the handle bars and one delicately cradling a Green Heron (Butorides virescens) that is thankfully behaving.
The bird is beautiful with deep green plumage on its head and back, rusty-colored feathers around the neck, a long pointed beak and a deceivingly long neck. From a riverside perch, Green Herons can extend their neck great lengths to the water and snap up an unsuspecting fish.
|Green Heron © Manfred Dangel|
The Heron was found in shin-high grass in the Harns Marsh in Lehigh Acres, Florida. As I peddled by, I expected it to fly and when it didn’t I considered it was injured. I parked the bike and stepped towards it. The bird rolled on to its back and offered its feet in a meek attempt to defend itself. I placed my hat over its head and examined what I believed was an injured wing. The bird could not fly. I carefully placed him under my arm and headed for home, chanting softly “please don’t bite me”.
|Green Heron © Maria Elena Corradino|
What I have done so far and what I will do is nothing exceptional. Rescuing injured wildlife is something that everyone with the capacity to do, should. What the rehabilitators do is something extraordinary and should be supported. Chances are you have a wildlife rehabilitation center nearby (and this is your chance to give them a shout out). For me, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W) in Sanibel, FL is the closest. They have a wide reaching network of volunteers who are willing to pick up the animals on location or at designated facilities.
Back at home I placed the heron in an animal carrier. I drop the bird off at the local vet’s office who secures it in a safe area. Later, a volunteer will pick the bird up along with an injured turtle that is awaiting transport. Once at the clinic, they will assess the injury and with good fortune and good medicine, have the animal back in the wild as soon as possible.
|Green Heron © Pete Corradino|
Consider the great lengths these rehabilitation centers go to for these wild animals and consider supporting their cause. Help injured wildlife. Volunteer to be a transporter. Donate to their organization. These clinics and the wildlife need all the help they can get.