Yesterday was the first time in Flint Creek Wildlife's history that we've released two endangered species in one day....both birds were American Bitterns, a medium-sized heron that is known for being secretive.
American Bitterns are deceiving. When not extending their necks, they seem fairly small. But watch out and wear safety glasses! An experienced Bittern rehabilitator will always control a Bittern's head else risk losing an eye. Bitterns spring on their legs like pogo sticks and they extend their necks like being ejected from a cannon. (Our photo gallery contains release photos from October 24, 2006 that illustrate this very well.)
Anyway, we've admitted three American Bitterns thus far during fall migration. One has a broken wing (ulna) and will be with us for some time. The other two suffered from head trauma - one severe and one mild. These are the two that were released today.
We videotaped the second release, so we only have one still photo of the second bird. See our photo gallery for all of today's release pictures and stay tuned for video....
And, yes, we released this bird in wetlands, but he flew off to the woods instead of the wetlands. We're confident he went back to the wetlands after we left. The second Bittern flew along the water until we finally lost sight of him....what a breathtaking sight.