PROWLS transports baby herons to recovery centre

Baby great blue heron

GREAT HAIRSTYLE: This baby heron was probably snatched by an eagle as food for its own nestlings and accidentally dropped on a front porch in Lund. Two feet tall, long, lanky and floppy, it was about three weeks old.

After making arrangements with North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC) in Errington, Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior called her volunteer driver in Courtenay, who agreed to meet the ferry and drive this nestling to NIWRA.

The young heron swallowed its first herring down its very long throat to sustain it on the voyage and then another upon arrival in Comox to sustain it during the drive. There is a fear of choking and suffocation if fed too much when its stomach is still very small.

A few days after its departure, Merrilee received a call from Tla’amin Nation about a baby heron huddling in one place, regardless of humans and dogs coming up to it. But when she arrived with her net, it disappeared into thick blackberry brambles and became impossible to rescue.

After two further attempts and two days later, it was too weak to scramble away and Merrilee was able to grab it by the beak. Now starving, it required feeding with a special nutritional formula forced into a long tube reaching down into its stomach.

Two days later, it was able to eat a herring, cut into bite-sized chunks. Once stronger, stable and eating well on its own, the heron took the same trip over to Comox to NIWRC, where it joined two other herons the same age.

PROWLS looks forward to its eventual release back in Powell River.