Orphaned, Young Green Heron Gets Help To Thrive

green heron standing in pen
Photo by Paul Steeves, wildlife rescue volunteer and photographer

The following story was shared with us by the Wildlife Rescue Association in British Columbia, Canada.

On August 28, 2019, the Wildlife Rescue Association of British Columbia rescued a young green heron on the side of the road. Orphaned and too young to survive on its own, our transport volunteer brought the heron to our wildlife hospital in Burnaby, B.C.

Upon its arrival, wildlife technicians performed an intake exam to assess injuries and provide a recovery treatment plan. Staff discovered bruising on the keel bone, right leg, and left wing. The left wing drooped. Blood work showed signs of anemia, poor total protein, plus infection and dehydration.

Technicians took on the challenge of treating the orphaned green heron and began fluid therapy and tube-feeding. EmerAid Intensive Care Piscivore was tube-fed along with hand-fed chopped up smelt. This required staff to perform tube-feedings every 30 minutes for up to 12 hours a day for the green heron to grow and develop at a healthy rate.

Throughout the month, the green heron’s blood values showed improvement and reached normal healthy values. EmerAid IC Piscivore tube-feedings were decreased over time as the green heron began eating on its own and maintaining its weight without help.

By September 15, we weaned off tube-feeding EmerAid IC Piscivore. The green heron was self-feeding, and blood values, weight, and hydration all remained stable. Wildlife Rescue moved the heron into a large outdoor enclosure to work on its flight and ability to perch.

On September 29, a release assessment deemed the green heron was ready for release back into the wild! On September 30, 2019, at Deboville Slough in Coquitlam, British Columbia, we released our brave, young green heron and watched as it took its first flight out into the wild.