The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team responded to a call recently regarding an injured sandhill crane in Kissimmee, Fla. When the team arrived on site, they realized it was maliciously sprayed with cooking oil. This is the second bird in one month found covered in oil. The team believes this bird is the grown chick of the other rescued sandhill crane found covered in oil that they successfully rescued, rehabilitated and returned early last month.
Shortly after the crane arrived at SeaWorld Orlando, Veterinarian Dr. Scott Gearhart, his veterinary technician and one of the Animal Rescue Team Members examined the bird and checked its vitals. The bird’s health was fine overall, despite suffering from dehydration and head trauma caused by another bird, most likely from a territorial dispute. The oil-soaked feathers prevented the bird from flying, a crane’s chief method for feeding and protecting itself.
The sandhill crane received warm fluids for rehydration and a boost of Vitamin E and Selenium. Following normal check-up procedures, it was moved to a bath area to wash away the oil. It received its first bath with a simple solution of water and Dawn dishwashing liquid soap. Following the bath, the bird was towel-dried, briefly blow-dried and then temporarily placed in a room with a heating lamp to make sure its body temperature didn’t drop from the cold.
The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team re-examined the bird periodically to make sure it was still doing well and recuperating properly. The bird underwent a final bath on New Year’s Day to completely remove the oil from its feathers and was then returned back to its natural habitat. This sandhill crane marks the 415th bird rescued in 2014 by the SeaWorld Orlando Team. A total of 424 birds were rescued last year.
The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team contacted the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the local police department to alert them of the situation because Florida sandhill cranes are protected under state and federal law.
If you see an injured bird, call the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team at 407-351-3600 and press No. 4. For all other animals, please contact FWC at 888-404-3922 or *FWC.