We have had the most extraordinary visitor at our home, brought to our attention by Benton. As Benton has done many times in the past, he went charging down to the pond to chase a heron away. This time the heron didn't fly away. Instead, she splashed to the opposite side of the pond. Benton ran at her again; she splashed away again; and again and again. Calling Benton off we went to see why the heron wasn't taking flight. Nothing obvious.
But, here we are three days later and we still have a heron. She's eating -- dragonflies, perhaps goldfish -- but not flying. At night she disappears, hiding in the shrubs we're guessing, but in the morning she's back. Our Airbnb guests from Bend, Oregon were enthralled. They thought seeing a heron was spectacular and then, when they were resting, doors wide open, the heron strolled into the bedroom peering at them as she circled the bed. They were almost giddy telling me about the experience; and I was giddy listening.
Today our heron, Stick as we call her, is playing "stick" on the edge of the pond, standing oh so quietly. She's looking a bit scruffy, but keeping a watchful eye out for fish or dragonflies to munch on. Benton has apparently now figured out she is a "chicken" and can't be chased, just like Brad and Yessi's chickens. There is curiosity back and forth, but no more chasing or splashing escapades.
My calls to wildlife doctors have resulted in nothing. Between doctor vacations, too-far-to-travel rescue hospitals, and trauma to the bird in capturing and transporting, the messages were simply to watch and wait and hope self-healing would happen.
Healing did not happen. As the day progressed our beautiful great blue heron sank into looking more like a penguin, and then a dying bird. We had guests for dinner and they all exclaimed about our beautiful bird, and being so close to such a magnificent creature. By late this evening she had slithered into the water and was floating, gasping and dying. Her death was strangley quiet; strangely beautiful. She died at about 8:00. Seven of us gathered to honor her, bury her in the garden and say goodbye to our beautiful visitor.
"At sunset the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it"
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams
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