GREAT BLUE HERON - DECEMBER 15 2013 - HENRY MARSH, BRACEBRIDGE
While participating in the Gravenhurst-Bracebridge Christmas Bird Count on December 15 2013, Regan, David, and Mara Goodyear found a Great Blue Heron standing in a small open area of water at the edge of Henry Marsh in Bracebridge. The heron had ice covered legs and feet, heavy clumps of ice attached to its breast feathers, and appeared to be in distress. It was unable to fly away and fell over onto the snow as they approached it. They were able to pick up the heron and took it back to their car where they wrapped it in a blanket. They took it to the Bracebridge OSPCA where it was admitted for care. "Henry" was standing on "his" own and was eating minnows a couple of days later and was later taken to a bird rehabilitation centre in Toronto where "he" will be released. This was not the first Great Blue Heron that has been observed in Muskoka in December, but this first year bird (owing to the dark feathering on the top of its head, not white feathering as in adult birds) was caught out by the sudden drop in temperatures and the quick freeze up of standing water.