In my youth, I remember a time in Rio, when my friend Vicki and I found a Great Blue Heron tangled in fishing line and hooks along the St Lucie River. Vicki, always being the leader, designated me to save the bird. I recall walking out into the shallow river and determining how I could help this gigantic and magnificent creature that stood almost as tall as myself.
The bird’s yellow/gold eyes were wild and frightened as it struggled against the line. To me, its markings resembled Indian war paint; its purple/blue coloring extraordinary. I was inspired and scared by its strength, beauty, and fight to survive.
Vicki barked directions at me, threw me a towel, and some scissors. Being careful not to hurt the bird, I cut the line from the mangrove, bringing it into my arms, gently holding its sharp beak, and then trounced back up to the shoreline. Vicki’s older sister, Beth, drove us to a wildlife veterinarian who took the line and hooks off the bird and returned it to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. This must have been sometime in the late 1970s…
The above photo, by local photographer, Paul Shidel, was recently shared, and brought back memories of this childhood experience. Birds tie into a week of blogging about destructive changes and history to the Everglades’ system.
Believe it or not, the National Audubon Society states that only 10% of the bird life remains in the Everglades compared to its pre-development glory. We are part of the Everglades. The Northern Everglades.
*90 % of the bird life is gone….
When you see a great blue heron know you are witnessing a “survivor.”
Have you ever watched them fly? Head forward; legs back; and a steady eye on the horizon. Completely focused. We too must keep our eyes on the horizon and be completely focused.
We have a long fight forward to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. And that we will.
Great Blue Heron Audubon: (http://birds.audubon.org/birds/great-blue-heron)
Martin County Audubon: (http://www.audubonmartincounty.org/p/2/home)
* Eric Draper of Florida Audubon quoted “90% loss of birds in the Everglades” 1-22-15 during his presentation to Martin County Audubon. This statistic is widely noted.
Search other blog post by subject at: (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com)
Miami Herald article on Everglades bird population 2014/15: (http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article7956405.html)