Wildlife rescue team members heron heroes

Quick action by members of the public and Cayman Wildlife Rescue resulted in the recovery of yet another injured bird recently.

The bird, a Least Bittern, is the smallest member of the Heron family and was helped on its path to recovery by the staff of the Boatswain’s Beach Aviary.

The bird was brought in for care, suffering from a ruptured air sac and a foot injury.

‘The bird’s injuries were most likely due to being hit by a car. Upon receiving the bird and assessing its need we knew it was going to be a challenging case,’ said Alison Corbett, project manager of Cayman Wildlife Rescue.

When it arrived at the centre, the Least Bittern was weak and malnourished. Unable to feed itself, it required tube feeding.

‘We were very fortunate that the staff in the aviary at Boatswain’s Beach volunteered their facilities and time to rehabilitate the bittern,’ Ms Corbett added.

According to Daniel Platts, aviculturist at Boatswain’s Beach and also a Cayman Wildlife Rescue volunteer, the staff were glad to help out.

‘We are pleased to assist Cayman Wildlife Rescue in their efforts and help preserve Cayman’s wildlife. This was an excellent opportunity for us to contribute to this cause,’ he said.

The Least Bittern responded quickly and was deemed fit for release back into the wild. Platts successfully released the bittern into a wetland in West Bay.

This colourful bird is often heard before is seen. They are both a winter visitor and a resident in the Cayman Islands and are usually seen in ponds and mangrove areas. They forage by stalking their prey along branches and reeds, or by clinging to clumps of vegetation above water and extending their long neck to seize small fish and insects.

Should you find sick or injured wildlife, call the LIME Sponsored Emergency Hotline 917-BIRD(2473) for all wildlife emergencies. Cayman Wildlife Rescue has a team of experienced and trained volunteers ready to assist in wildlife emergencies. The public are reminded to never attempt to care for a wildlife animal themselves as these creatures required special diets and veterinary care.

Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a programme of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands tasked with the rescue of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for release back into the wild. It is financed by donations from the public and staffed entirely by volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Alison Corbett at [email protected]. For more information on the programme, visit www.caymanwildliferescue.org.