The following story was shared with us by the Florida Wildlife Hospital.
We received a juvenile yellow-crowned night-heron on the afternoon of December 6. The young bird was found under a bridge in Indian River County and transported to the Humane Society of Indian River County, which then had a volunteer transport it to our facility.
The 672 gram (about 1.4 pound) juvenile had good body condition but was mildly dehydrated and obtunded (similar to lethargic) at intake. Additionally, it had a laceration on the top of its head, trauma to both eyes and blood around the choana (opening of nasal cavity). The patient was given 30cc of oral fluids, flurbiprofen eye drops in both eyes, and oral Metacam. Given our findings during the initial exam, we suspected trauma most likely from a car strike.
The following morning, the patient was standing and its mentation had improved. The bleeding had stopped from the choana, but its eyes appeared the same. It was given two more feedings of oral fluids before being started on EmerAid Intensive Care Piscivore diet. It received 30cc of EmerAid three times a day for 48 hours being offered solid fish. On December 10, we began to hand-feed lake smelt in addition to the 30cc EmerAid three times a day. Each day the patient made small improvements.
On December 11, our consulting veterinarians evaluated the patient and cleared it to be moved outdoors to a pre-release enclosure. By December 12, all of the heron’s issues had subsided and its eyes were clear. We took the patient outside to a large flight aviary to evaluate it for release. It immediately started flying. Later that afternoon, we were able to return the young heron back to the wild!