A Great Blue Heron Rescue


One of my last visits to the 10,000 Islands NWR in Florida earlier this month yielded a feel-good story with a rescue of a Great Blue Heron.

Along the refuge’s trail, I came upon one of the Park Rangers sitting down at the water canal’s edge.  We exchanged morning pleasantries and bird sightings, and how much we both loved this refuge.

The Park Ranger kept a partial attention to the 20-25′ wide water canal as we talked, and I asked was something wrong.  She pointed to a Great Blue Heron across the canal in the water reported by another trail walker a couple hours earlier that was possibly sick or injured.

The Park Ranger herself had been there for over an hour and had tried to coax it to get out or up on the embankment but was unsuccessful.  She said it appeared lethargic, and was possibly injured or sick; it may have been there in hiding all night.  She had called and was waiting for the park’s wildlife team to arrive and rescue it.  And as if on cue, a truck was heading towards us with the team and a kayak.

The Park Ranger advised the team she had been watching for the alligators and thought the coast was clear.  They made their plan, set up their equipment, and then proceeded to cross the approximately two foot deep canal by foot.  (I have seen alligators in this canal before! 😳)


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Great Blue Heron back left, tucked up in the mangroves


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Safely back on the trail side


Throughout the entire time, the Great Blue Heron never fought its rescue.  It surely was exhausted and cold from the chilly water.


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The team had a large container, and the handler laid the heron gently inside it.  They assured the small crowd that had now gathered the heron would be taken to their wildlife hospital for evaluation and hopefully able to have a successful recovery.  😊



52 thoughts on “A Great Blue Heron Rescue

  1. That’s the great thing about NWRs, because they have all facilities to assist and bring up a sick or injured bird to health, immediately. I was a well documented report, Donna. Good work! πŸ™‚ πŸš‘

    • Thank you, HJ! It was awesome and made me feel good the rest of the day to see this unfold. The Park Ranger told us if we ever saw an injured animal at the refuge to call the main number and they would send out a team. They really don’t want an injured one to be at the mercy of the gators.

  2. They sure were brave to go in where alligators swim, and face that beak of the Heron! I hope it got better and is or was released back into the wild.

    Great Donna on the spot reporting and images! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ₯°

    • I thought they were brave, too! Had me nervous, I know, especially when I’ve seen the alligators in that canal before. Fingers crossed the heron is back at the refuge flying and fishing! πŸ™‚

    • The gal in the foreground was the ‘watcher’. Of course, I was watching too! I was a bit nervous, knowing I had seen gators in that canal before. Hopefully, it recovered well and is back at the refuge, maybe looking for a mate! πŸ˜‰

  3. Beautiful photographs and such a lovely story Donna! Many thanks to the Park Ranger and the wildlife team for the rescue and I wish the sweet heron a full and speedy recovery πŸ’œπŸ™

    • Thank you, Xenia! I agree, kudos to the Park Ranger and team, they truly cared about rescuing the heron without hurting it. Let’s hope it’s flying high over the refuge and chasing a mate now for the breeding season! πŸ™‚

  4. What an amazing story. I guess we’ll never know what the problem was, but hopefully he will recover. When you think about it, people were risking their lives (alligator territory) to reach this heron and hopefully save its life.

    • We like to think it recovered and it is happily looking for a mate for the season! They really didn’t worry too much about the gators. (I was!) What scares the heck out of me down there is the swamp hiking tours you can take so easily, those that you walk in 1-2 feet of water in swamps and marshes. No way ever could I do that… 😳

  5. I’m always amazed by the kindness and compassion some people have for wildlife. What a wonderful story. I hope the heron made a full recovery at the hospital, at least we know he had a good chance there. The last pictures are beautiful, what a gorgeous bird. (Thank goodness the alligators weren’t around.)

    • I don’t believe I’ve ever watched a wildlife rescue before, I know it felt really good to see it unfold and the heron’s face at the end. It really looked relieved and was so calm. Knowing it received all the medical help it needed, I’m hoping it did make a full recovery too.

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