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Published: Monday, 8/25/2014 - Updated: 1 month ago

Injured crane eating up agency’s funds

Chick on road to recovery at Nature’s Nursery

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Laura Zitzelberger, left, and Candee Ellsworth, stand near a rescued sandhill crane chick, which was attacked by a dog but is now walking and and healing at Nature’s Nursery in Whitehouse. Laura Zitzelberger, left, and Candee Ellsworth, stand near a rescued sandhill crane chick, which was attacked by a dog but is now walking and and healing at Nature’s Nursery in Whitehouse.
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Nature’‍s Nursery in Whitehouse is rehabilitating a young bird that is eating it out of house and home. The nonprofit wild animal rescue and rehabilitation group is looking for financial support to help with the chick’‍s continued care and the care of its other residents.

The bird is a sandhill crane from Williams County that arrived Aug. 11, after it was attacked by a dog the night before. The youngster is a striking avian, too young to fly, standing perhaps 3 feet tall, with a long neck and narrow head.

The species has existed for millions of years, and a full grown bird has a wingspan of 6 or 7 feet, said Candee Ellsworth, the executive director of Nature’‍s Nursery, who has heard the call of sandhill cranes in the wild.

“It even sounds prehistoric,” Ms. Ellsworth said. “You could think you’‍re in Jurassic Park. It makes you think ‘‍pterodactyl.’‍ ”

Caring for the young crane has strained the wildlife center’‍s limited resources, Ms. Ellsworth, a biologist by training, said. “Our funding is all private donations. We have a little over 700 members,” she said. “Our mission is to improve the well-being of northwest Ohio wildlife populations and habitats through public education and rehabilitation.”

The center has about 50 permanent animal residents, from a salamander to a coyote to owls, which patrons can sponsor. Donations and new members are welcome. For more information, visit natures-nursery.org.

The injured bird, whose gender is unidentified for now, has made a good recovery.

Its injuries included multiple puncture wounds and spinal trauma. It was unable to stand on its own when it arrived, but it has no trouble doing so now.

It was rescued near Pioneer, Ohio, by a woman who noticed its distressed parents and investigated. Ms. Ellsworth stays in touch with her and is told the parents continue to search and call for their lost chick. The goal is to return the bird to its parents, perhaps as soon as this week.

“We couldn’t be happier with the progress he’‍s made,” said Laura Zitzelberger, the nursery’s operations director. “I never expected him to be on his feet this soon.”

But caring for the sandhill chick has been expensive. Ms. Ellsworth and Ms. Zitzelberger put the daily cost at about $150. The chick has a voracious appetite. Its daily diet consists of more than 20 mice along with earthworms and smelt, all of which must be purchased.

As the chick’‍s recovery has progressed, so too has its appetite. Feeding time can be viewed on YouTube. The bird also is given medicines on a daily basis and is under the care of veterinary consultants.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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