Cattle Egret

Some years ago, I helped start an email list that allows local birders keep in contact with each other. It must have filled a need, because the list has had from 70-100 people on it for years and years.

I got a phone call from our neighbor the other day, saying that a mutual friend of ours had a Cattle Egret hanging around his farm. This is very late in the year for any migrating bird to be here, and the Cattle Egret is so rare around here that there are only 7 reported sightings. At least one of our avid birders made the trip out to the farm to see this bird after I posted its location on the birder list.

I assumed that would be the end of the story, but the next day I got a call from the fellow whose farm was hosting the egret. He said it had been found in the morning nearly frozen and almost unresponsive. They brought it inside and attempted to feed it, but it didn’t seem interested in food. He asked for my help, so once again I posted to the list to see if anyone had any ideas. The ideas poured in, and one of them told about a couple in Gladstone (near Escanaba; about 140 miles from here) that did bird rescues. I called them and learned they were willing to take the bird, but that they couldn’t come and get it.

I posted to the list again to see if anyone might be going down that way and could drop it off. In the meantime, I was expecting the problem to solve itself, because birds that get that cold often don’t survive. Well this guy fooled the critics. He was eating well and once warmed up seemed raring to get back into the sky. We figured we’d better help him out if possible by getting him further south and in the hands of some experts.

A couple of possibilities presented themselves, but none that seemed right for this situation. Talking on the phone again with my farmer friend, I learned he was going to Seney on Sunday morning, and could meet someone near Marquette if they could take the bird the rest of the way. I called the folks back in Gladstone, and they gave me the name of a woman near there that does volunteer work for them. I contacted her, and she agreed to meet them Sunday morning for the handoff to the people in Gladstone.

I learned several things as a result of this incident. First of all that birders are pretty neat people. Second, that a whole system of bird rescuers exists that I never knew about. And finally, I learned that I’m glad I got involved with this thing. I feel pretty good that this rare (up here) bird will get another shot at life.

One Response to “Cattle Egret”

  1. Patty Soldan says:

    What an amazing story, but that is my brother Ted for you! He has a very compassionate and helpful heart! I think that is one of his best qualities and I am glad that the bird found his way into Ted’s path! May he fly many, many more miles in his lifetime!!! I meant the bird, not Ted!!! 🙂

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