Update: On Friday, Nov. 17, Blue Bird Farm reported that the heron had died. An attempt to release the bird had failed and he was taken to a specialist in Connecticut. He had been seen by a veterinarian who had started tests; an autopsy could not determine why he died.
Update: On Sunday, Blue Bird Farm reported that the heron was up and walking and could be freed in the next few days.
ADAMS, Mass. — A blue heron trapped in fishing line in the Hoosic River flood chutes for nearly week was rescued Friday afternoon.
"The poor thing I wish someone had said something earlier because he really didn't have that much fight in him," Kaila Drosehn said. "Usually you have to be careful because their beaks are super sharp but he kind of just surrendered. He knew he needed help."
Drosehn was on scene Friday morning with Windsor Animal Control Officer Dave Melle. She said they were able to get a ladder into the flood chute at Columbia Street and come to the bird's aid.
An Adams woman had called police after noticing the bird had not moved in days but after getting no response, had turned to Facebook seeking help. That brought it to the attention of Cara Petricca, a wildlife rehabilitator, and Drosehn, who is interning at Petricca's Bluebird Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Drosehn said once they wrapped the bird up in a towel and secured him in a carrier, he seemed to settle down.
Although the bird was tangled up pretty good, she did not suspect that someone hooked the bird on purpose.
"A lot of people if they get their fishing line caught on something they just cut it and blue herons are attracted to shiny things," she said. "It could have been attached to a fish, too, and he may have went after it. He pretty much hog tied himself."
Drosehn said she was able to free up some of the line so the bird could stand up. She said he was very thin but once he got back on his feet he regained some of his "spunk."
"We got some of it off so he could be sitting upright and not on his side anymore, so his feet were free," she said. "He was a cool bird and he didn't make any noise. He just sat there. He probably felt better that he could sit upright."
Drosehn said she expects the blue heron was tied up for at least a week and if he was a smaller female, most likely would not have survived.
"He was close enough to the water, so he could get a drink once in a while and maybe eat some bugs. I think that was the only thing that saved him," she said. "There were ducks crowded around him and I thought they maybe were trying to feed him. I don't know what they were doing but they were interested."
Drosehn said the rescue took a half hour.
The bird was being taken to an animal hospital to have the hook removed and address any other injuries. Drosehn said if anything is broken, the bird will likely have to go through rehabilitation.
She wished the sanctuary farm knew about the bird earlier and noted there was some confusion on social media of who to call for wildlife help. She said it is important to call Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife right away because the division will put people in touch with licensed rehabilitators such as Bluebird Farm.
"When it comes to wildlife people don't always know who to call because it is not a local police issue unless it's rabid," she said. "If it is a regular old squirrel who fell out of a tree or a bird in a canal that is not something they respond to."
Drosehn said the farm has had a busy year and since March has rescued more than 500 wild and domestic animals.
"It has been a busy year and it does not seem to slow down," she said. "We do what we can."