Three Green Herons Released Back into the Wild

By Ali Berman, Communications Manager

Fledgling Green Herons are a lot like little kids. They don’t always know the difference between a safe space and a dangerous one. And that means, they sometimes end up in strange places one wouldn’t normally expect to find a Green Heron.

This summer our Care Center took in two fledgling Green Herons that didn’t actually have anything wrong with them. They were found in suburban areas and concerned citizens saw them, thought they were abandoned, and brought them to us.

Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon occurrence during baby bird season. Many fledglings look like they might need help or be lost, but have just left the nest as a part of the normal fledgling process. Because concerned citizens called our hotline, we were able to save a number of Green Herons from being brought in unnecessarily. And for the few that were brought in, we were able to release them right back into the wild. However, it was determined that keeping these two at the WCC until they were slightly older was the best course of action to prevent them from being disturbed.

The image to the right shows one of the areas where a Green Heron was found. It’s easy to see why a fledgling may seem out of place, as this is a residential area. But, look closely and you’ll see that there are wetlands nearby.

One of the Green Herons was found within the orange circle in Aloha. The Bales Wetlands Park where the bird likely came from is a short distance away next to the parking lot.

A third Green Heron came to us with a fractured leg bone which needed to be splinted. While this bird healed, it was kept isolated. Less than two weeks later, once the leg was better, the injured Heron joined the other two. Fledgling Green Herons would normally be with siblings so they were kept together as much as possible while they were being prepared to be released back into the wild.

As a final step, the Herons were placed in one of the larger enclosures on site at the Care Center and then, days before their scheduled release, they were brought to our off-site flight cages to give them some better flying practice.

Release Day

A release is a great opportunity to educate others about wildlife and why some of them end up in our Care Center. For this release in Tualatin, we were joined by a group of 20 to 30 high school seniors, most with binoculars, who were studying environmental science.

As the large group approached the wetlands we spotted an Egret and a Belted Kingfisher. All eyes darted to the water and to the sky. One of the teachers also noted that he had seen a Green Heron at this location. The students asked many questions about the birds, and one lucky student had the opportunity to open the carrier door.

Almost as soon as the carrier was opened, the three Green Herons each took to the sky, one right after the other. A great successful release for three young birds.

Every year the Wildlife Care Center treats 3,000 injured or orphaned native animals. If you would like to make a donation to support our wildlife rehabilitation work at the Wildlife Care Center, click here.