As we watched, a fisherman kept throwing rocks in an attempt to break the line. To our amazement, the line finally snapped, and the bird plunged into the river. It managed to swim to shore, but it was obvious that it was badly injured. The fisherman attempted to get close enough to help the bird but quit when he saw that the bird was becoming more stressed by his efforts.
I called my daughter Kim, who located a wildlife rehab organization in Dallas. After some good advice from them and volunteers Michael and Grace Haight at Hagerman NWR, I contacted a local expert, Steve Armstrong, Grayson County Wildlife Rehabilitation, who quickly rescued the injured heron and transported it to a rehab facility. Hopefully they'll be able to save the bird. It was the best possible ending to a very stressful day.
Photo of Great Blue Heron taken by Becky Goodman at Hagerman NWR.
Editors Note: This episode underlines the importance of taking lines and lures home, not leaving them to snare or hook waterfowl and other creatures. Metal can tabs and the plastic loops that hold six-packs are other common hazards to wildlife. Please, please, pay attention to the adage, in nature, leave behind nothing but your footprints!
A source of information re injured wildlife is http://www.dfwwildlife.org/. For more information about Hagerman NWR see http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html, and for information about programs and activities at the Refuge, see http://www.friendsofhagerman.com.