On November 2, a Great Blue Heron was found tangled in fishing line that was dangling from a tree in Madison, Virginia. An Albemarle County Animal Control officer removed the fishing line before capturing the bird and transporting it to the Center.
A veterinary student at the Center found a deep wound on the bird's right elbow, along with scrapes on both elbows. The bird was also knuckling his feet, which affected his ability to walk. The heron was treated with pain medication and antibiotics and placed in the Center’s Hold room. The bird was not eating well in the days following admission, so the veterinary staff began acclimating the heron so that it could move outside, in hopes that the outdoor space and sounds would stimulate the bird's appetite. The bird continued to improve and was moved to the Center’s Aviary enclosure on November 7.
Originally, this bird was not eating well while living in the Center’s Hold room. Herons can be particularly stressed in a captive setting, which makes them challenging to care for. After moving to the Center’s Aviary enclosure, the heron started eating more consistently and the veterinary staff are pleased with how the bird's coordination and balance were improving. The heron is currently eating consistently all of the smelt fish he is offered daily.
On November 22, Dr. Sarah, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, noted a right-wing droop while the bird was in the Center’s Aviary enclosure. While this issue has since resolved, the bird continues to live in the Center’s Aviary so that it can gain more weight and continue to heal its wing wound.