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Another American Bittern Successfully Rehabilitated

Posted on 5 November 2008 by Dawn Keller

Today we released an American Bittern to continue its migration southward. This was the first of five American Bitterns admitted to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation thus far during fall migration. He suffered from a fracture to the left radius (bone in the wing). The wing healed and he was ready to continue his journey.

American Bitterns, an endangered species in Illinois, spend their summers in much of Canada and the northern United States. Their wintering grounds include the southern reaches of the United States and Central America. According to Cornell Department of Ornithology, they generally migrate alone or in pairs.

American Bitterns have a reputation for being very secretive. They stand among reeds and blades of tall grass and hold their heads up with their bills pointed skyward camouflaging themselves as grass. In this position, they can be very difficult to see. You can see this nicely illustrated in one of the photos we took of the subject American Bittern following his release.

Anyway, I digress....

So this American Bittern flew to the nearby reeds and tall grass and camouflaged himself. He hung out for awhile and then continued his migration. One more injured bird that gets another chance. We wish him a long and safe life.

In case you're interested, while we've released three of the American Bitterns arriving this fall, it looks like the other two will miss migration. Once healed, our options will be to overwinter them or to ship them south to their wintering territory. One of these birds suffered from a fractured femur (leg bone) while the second has a fractured wrist (wing bone).

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