Heron needs a lift to Arizona


by By KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 12:35 PM

Video: Injured heron needs a lift to Arizona

BANBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. - Behind a locked caged door sits an injured bird in bad need of ride to a permanent home.

"Unfortunately if we soon don't find a ride for him our only option will be to put him to sleep," said Mike Pratt, Director of West Sound Wildlife Refuge.

It's the last option for a year-old great blue heron that has already gone through so much.

Earlier this year, the bird was found with a broken wing and broken leg. The injuries were caused by a bald eagle.

Since then, employees and veterinarians at Bainbridge Island's West Sound Wildlife Refuge have fixed his broken leg and rehabilitated his wing.

"Unfortunately, the one wing just droops enough and didn't heal quite right and he is not able to fly so he is not releasable," said Pratt.

Normally workers would be forced to put the bird down, but this is not a normal circumstance.

"Because he was so young and we already have a place for him with an education program; unfortunately it's in Arizona," said Pratt.

The crate is ready to ship the bird to the Senora Desert Museum in Tucson. But the bird is having a hard time finding a flight.

"Commercial airlines can't ship him because of the heat. Somehow we are hoping a private plane can take him because his crate is so high," said Pratt.

Experts feel a drive would take too long and put the bird under too much stress.

With major airlines, Fed Ex, UPS and the military unable to take the blue heron, the heron's final resting place might be in Western Washington.

The refuge almost had a deal to fly the bird back with the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. Unfortunately that deal fell through at the last minute.

The center hopes a private pilot will come forward an offer to fly the bird to Tucson.