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Animal Stories: Great Blue Heron

Sometimes the most well-intentioned acts can do more harm than good for a wild animal. That was the case with CuriOdyssey’s great blue heron (Ardea herodias), “John.”

John was found in the wild with a broken wing and the people who found her tried to mend the wing on their own.  Because they lacked the knowledge and proper equipment needed to rehabilitate a wild animal, John’s wing healed incorrectly and was permanently damaged.  After being brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center, John was determined non-releasable since her chances of survival in the wild were slim. Visitors often ask our keepers, “What should we do if we find an injured animal or abandoned baby animal?”  The best thing to do is either leave the animal be or to contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center.  Most of the animals at CuriOdyssey have come from wildlife rehabilitation centers.

John came to CuriOdyssey in 1996 – 18 years ago!  She was donated to us from the Bird Rescue Center.  When John arrived at the rescue center, they found that she had a fractured metacarpal and radius near her elbow.  Due to this injury John cannot fly; that makes it difficult for her to locate food and escape predators.

CuriOdyssey's Great Blue Heron image

John is one of the most popular birds at CuriOdyssey today.  She roams the Walk-Through Aviary and often stands by the right wooden bridge.  You may have noticed that John is referred to as a female; she was affectionately named by a former staff member before she laid an egg!  One of her favorite enrichment items is a tub full of feeder goldfish.  Yum!  Be sure to say “Hi” to John on your next visit.

– Post and photo by Rachael Rufino

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1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
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CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
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