Debris freed from beak of great blue heron at Blue Marsh

Rescued bird found to be uninjured and healthy

BERN TWP., Pa. - A great blue heron is back to enjoying life at Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County.

The bird had been coping with a great deal of debris around its beak, so the Red Creek Wildlife Center's Peggy Hentz and Mike Witman teamed up Thursday morning to help the heron.

Using minnows, the pair managed to bait the bird into a snare at the Dry Brooks boat launch in Bern Township, remove the debris from its beak, and release it back into the wild.

The entire process took about 45 minutes, according to Hertz, who told 69 News that the bird was uninjured, but "significantly annoyed."

Officials had been concerned that the bird was near starvation due to the entangled mass over its mouth, but Hentz said its weight was at a healthy level and it was obvious it had been eating.

As for the debris, it was artificial spider webbing used for Halloween decorating. The web had collected fishing line, hooks, and other debris, Hertz said.

"This story had a happy ending, but it could have very easily gone the other direction," Scott D. Sunderland, Blue Marsh Lake's park manager said in a statement. "The message we can all take from this situation is to make every attempt to properly discard all trash and used fishing gear properly while recreating. The wildlife cannot always tell the difference between what is real and what is fake as a food source."

Hentz said animals get entangled in similar webbing every year and, for that reason, wildlife officials discourage people from using it outdoors.

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