The Great Blue Heron is a bird that is deemed by the Washington County Department of Environmental Conservation as one of their watchable wildlife. little did Dave Woodruff know that he would be able to see one in Whitehall. Let alone, right down the street from his home.
“i was going down the road on my road, and I was saying ‘well she doesn’t look good so I got out and took pictures of her and she tried to fly a short distance but she came down and I knew something was wrong with her,” he said.
After seeing it go down, Woodruff felt like he needed to do something about it. Being a man with a lot of animal experience, he took it upon himself to make sure the heron would see another day.
“They said they didn’t know if something happened to its parents or not but she couldn’t survive by herself,” he said. ‘They said that the parents got rid of her too soon.”
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science, also known as VINS, took in the heron. Woodruff, however, was the one to transport the wild bird to the clinic. VINS is located in Quechee, Vermont, and from Whitehall that meant Woodruff had an hour-and-a-half ride in front of him with a wild bird in his back seat.
“I just went up to her and got her, brought her into my truck and then my wife called the vet and then they told us to go to VINS,” he said.
What Woodruff noticed during the ride was how the heron was calm for most of the trip. He said he had no problem transporting the bird.
“She stayed in the back seat the whole time we were on the road and was looking out the window,” he said.
Great Blue Herons are common in upstate New York. According to the Washington County DEC, blue herons are “… bluish-gray with black and white streaks on the front, have long, slender legs and a yellow bill, a long neck folded into S-shape when in flight, and have a black plume of feathers on their heads.” They commonly nest in large canopy trees and are more often than not located near a body of water.
Woodruff is normally used to seeing gray herons in Whitehall, rather than a blue one.
“That was the first one that I’ve seen around this area, that blue heron,” he said. “There’s a gray one that I’ve seen, but never a blue one.”
As for the current status of the bird, she is alive and well in the care of the vets at VINS. Woodruff has been keeping track of the heron’s health every week since he took her in.
“They have been calling us every week to let us know how she’s doing and she is doing very well. She’s really doing really well. They’re thinking about putting her in with another one so she would have a pen pal.”
For now, the heron will remain at VINS and there isn’t a plan just yet if she will be able to be released back into the wild.
“When they first got her, they said it took two of them to feed her and they weren’t sure if she would make it or not, but through the weeks I kept getting calls and they were saying she is getting better and better. So now she’s flying, which she couldn’t do before, she’s eating on her own and gaining a lot,” he said.