The recent cold temperatures have been dangerous for humans and wildlife alike. Sheets of ice have formed along the shores of the York River making feeding a challenge for shore birds.
The Great blue heron is a year round resident at York River State Park and has dealt with many a cold snap. But, one yearling bird was not taking the weather very well. It was found by Dr. Willie Reay of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of the College of William & Mary as he was doing research in the marsh along Taskinas Creek. The heron was cold, hungry, and could not fly away. Park Manager Russell Johnson found an empty bin to place the bird in and was placed in the warmth of our wet lab. Volunteer Coordinator Mary Apperson then brought the bird to a local wildlife veterinarian. Despite initial signs of recovery, it died two days later.
The natural world may seem like a cruel place sometimes. But, the stronger great blue herons continue to survive in the winter giving park visitors many chances to enjoy this elegant wading bird