Aug 21 2013
When fishermen and trappers abandon their lines in the water, they hurt unintended victims. One careless individual nearly killed a great egret in York County, Pennsylvania.
Thanks to John Beatty, Ann Pettigrew, TriState Bird Rescue and a whole host of caring volunteers the bird was saved. Here’s the story in John Beatty’s words:
On August 8th 2013 at William Kain Park I noticed an Egret was trailing behind some high-strength fishing line with a hook attached inside of the corner of its mouth. It was later discovered that this line was left behind by someone attempting to catch Snapping Turtles in the lake. I called the Fish & Game Commission and they dispatched out an officer but before he arrived a couple of local York County Parks employees happened to stop by as well. With a coordinated effort they were able to corral this bird into the woods, capture and retrieve it. By another coincidence there happened to be a veterinarian (Ann Pettigrew) of the Leader Heights Animal Hospital out taking photographs and she offered her help to bring the bird back to her office. The hook was removed from the bird’s throat and after being treated and nursed back to health it was released on August 18th. It was very nice that they invited me to come and take photos at the release of the bird.
Above, the egret struggles to remove the line but the hook is lodged in his throat. In fact it has gone through and is protruding from his neck.
Below, county park naturalists Fran Velazquez and Kelsey Frey slogged through mud, water and thorns to catch the bird. Wrapped in a towel, they are holding its beak (through the towel). You can see its black feet near Kelsey’s gloved left hand.
At Leader Heights Animal Hospital, Dr. Ann Pettigrew removed the hook and heavy-duty string and treated the bird. Then she took it to Tri-State Bird Rescue for rehab. In only ten days it was healthy and ready for release.
On August 18 everyone turned out to see the bird fly free. Here Teresa Deckard of Bird Refuge of York County opens the box.
That’s one happy egret!
Thanks to all the good people who made this happy ending possible.
Don’t miss John Beatty’s beautiful photos of this egret’s rescue and release. Click here or on any of the photos to see the entire story.
(all photos by John Beatty)
p.s. In the Comments I have transcribed Ann Pettigrew’s PABIRDS report of this egret’s rescue on August 8.