The following was written and shared by Diane Winn of Avian Haven, one of the largest bird rehabilitation practices in New England. Located in Freedom, Maine, they have treated over 12,000 birds comprising over 100 species.
Warden Steve Allarie called on the afternoon of October 24th to give us a heads-up that he was about to attempt a rescue of a Great Blue Heron tangled in fishing line near the north end of Cobbosseecontee Lake. Responding to a call, Steve had found her standing up, half in and half out of the water, with a significant length of monofilament wrapped around the left wing and leg, and some tissue damage to the wing. Steve made a quick detour to grab a large kennel, and returned to the site with Warden Dan Christianson.
Together they were able to free the bird, and Steve called back to say the heron was still alive, though barely. Steve met volunteer Linda Harrell in Augusta, and she got the heron here in record time. The bird was wet, cold, and virtually comatose on intake; the abrasions on the wing were the least of her problems. We popped her in a heated ICU to dry off and warm up, not really expecting her to live the night. But live she did, and the next morning, in a larger indoor habitat, she tried to stand. Standing wasn’t easy, and walking even more challenging; the bird was extremely unsteady on her feet. But her balance problems resolved over the next week, and on November 3rd, she was flying and restless. “Knee deep in hunting and trapping issues,” Steve was not able to join us for a release, but wished her well. Great Blue Herons were migrating, so there was no need for her to return to Cobbossee’; Marc set her free at a Sebasticook Regional Land Trust wetland in Unity.