Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shooting in or Near Rookery

Today we rescued a great egret quite different from our previous rescues:
  1. He was not in the rookery but in the faculty parking garage around 11 a.m. (I had to stomp on brakes to dodge him.).
  2. He was not an innocent docile juvenile, but a full grown adult Great Egret, in excellent health apart from his wound, and he was not one to suffer fools gladly.
There was blood all over his right side and wing. My first thought, since I narrowly avoided hitting him, was that another car had hit him. But closer examination showed that all the blood was streaming from a small round hole through his upper wing. This Egret had recently been SHOT with a BB gun. The pellet hit a vein, which accounted for the blood, but luckily it missed the wing bones. If the shot had been larger, or struck less than an inch higher, the bird would have been crippled. The egret is being treated to prevent infection but should easily recover.

Who would do such an awful thing? The folks at the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center believe the bird could have flown, painfully, even in his bruised condition, from a nearby residential area.

It seems unlikely that anyone is shooting at birds in the rookery. Nevertheless, we should look out for a maniac with a BB gun, probably a kid.

In other news:

We were in Madison (Wisconsin) last week and made a side trip to visit the International Crane Foundation (ICF).
There we learned that some cranes cool off on very hot days by riding the thermals up into the cooler upper air and circling as long as they can. This might explain why the Anhingas were circling high in the sky two weeks ago and dropping into odd places.

The anhingas might be gone for the year. I saw none in the sky today.

The ibises are probably not too far behind. Today I saw a small family overhead that included the first flying ibis juveniles I've seen this year.

The rookery looks no worse for our absence. Thanks to everyone who pitched in, especially Anna, Peter, and Valerie.

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