Arrow-stricken vulture worries rescuers in Bradenton neighborhood

Injured bird spotted in a northwest Bradenton neighborhood

jdeleon@bradenton.comDecember 29, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Rescue workers unsuccessfully attempted to capture a black vulture that has an arrow through its neck in an northwest Bradenton neighborhood Saturday, but are hopeful they will be able to capture the injured animal in the days ahead.

Members of the Florida Audubon Society's Eagle Watch were alerted of the injured bird after a local resident posted a photo of the bird on Facebook late Friday night, according to volunteer Carol Slocum. She and two other members went in search of the bird, at the time believed to be an eagle.

The bird was located in a tree in the backyard of a home in the 1400 block of 73rd Street West in Bradenton early Saturday afternoon.

Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center Inc, on Anna Maria Island was called out to assist. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was too short staffed to send someone out, volunteer Glenn Wiseman said. The rescue group has been in contact with the FWC, however.

Wiseman, along with another volunteer and vice president of the rescue group, Damen Hurd, came out to the home where the bird had been spotted.

Attempts to get the vulture scared it, and it flew to a tree about a block away in the 7400 block of 15th Avenue West. Further attempts there scared it back to its original location.

"Eventually we will catch him; he is not very weak right now," Hurd said. "We

can probably catch him as he gets weaker from being unable to eat."

Hurd and the other rescue volunteers were able to get a close enough look to see that the arrow has gone through its neck and does not appear to be bleeding profusely.

"If it's not dead already then it probably didn't hit an artery," Hurd said. "It's just a matter of infection and being able to swallow food."

Hurd is confident that once the vulture is rescued they will be able to surgically remove the arrow, rehabilitate it and release back in to the wild.

This type of rescue is not completely unusual for the rescue worker, who has participated in about three in the past year alone.

"We have had quite a few ducks with arrows through them in Manatee County," Hurd said. "It's usually birds that people consider a nuisance."

The rescue group will continue to monitor the vulture daily.

"What we want is the public to keep an eye on him," Hurd said.

The rescue group will also continue to keep law enforcement at FWC updated on the situation, since the vulture is a protected species. It's against the law to shoot or harass vultures without a permit from the FWC, according to the agency's website.

"If we pull an arrow we'll turn it over to them," Hurd said. "They'd keep in case they bust someone and the arrows match. They can also try and get fingerprints, but that's unlikely."

Anyone with any information about the vulture's condition or location can call Wildlife, Inc. at 941-778-6324. Anyone with information about who shot the arrow at the vulture is asked to report it to FWC at 888-404-3922 and can be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 if the information results in an arrest.

Jessica De Leon, Herald report, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeleon1012.

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