A juvenile great blue heron was found roadside in East Dummerston, VT last week, lethargic and unable to stand. The tall, gangly fellow was brought to VINS, where we did an exam to see what might be the problem.
See a video of the heron's exam, and watch him eat fish!
Upon exam (see photos of his exam below), we found a few parasitic flukes in his mouth -- easily treated with an antiparasitic -- and that the heron was a bit on the thin side. When we put him into his enclosure, he was indeed unable to stand, which we attributed to his being underweight. A lot of first-year birds have trouble capturing prey -- in this case, fish -- and lose weight and the energy to continue on.
After a week in our care, we've gotten the heron hydrated and are bulking him up. He dutifully snaps up live minnows we purchase from the local bait store, and he's standing tall and proud! The future looks bright for this bird, and we hope to release him back into the wild soon.