I knew there was a problem on Captiva’s new beach at Blind Pass when I walked by this little Sanderling and she didn’t move an inch. I guess most shore birds here know that “other” shellers are friendly folks so you can get pretty close to them before they fly away. This was different. This little girl was standing upright but completely still. I crouched down to see if she was hurt and realized that her beak was trapped in the “jaws” of a live PEN SHELL.
I tried to pry the shell open but I didn’t want to move the bird too much to irritate her bill. I had to get help. Near the parking lot, I found the perfect person….. I’ll just call her Mother Earth Marilyn. She just looked like she was ready for any beach rescue mission with fanny packs, nets, a big, wide, uv protected brimmed hat and the right attitude. She took charge and held Sandy The Sanderling while I tried to pry the shell open. I still couldn’t budge the shell so I recruited another couple of guys… one with a pocket knife and another to pry the shell open. She was released from the grips of that pesky PEN SHELL!
Unfortunately, the tips of her beak were broken off and she was losing lots of blood. We quickly emptied Mother Earth Marilyn’s shell bag and put Sandy The Sanderling safely in her pouch to rush her to CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife).
I just got the latest diagnosis on our little patient at CROW…. Sandy The Sanderling is doing well!!
We hope that her beak will heal well enough to feed herself so she can be released back in the wild. Let’s all give good wishes for our new little bird friend and a big thanks to Marilyn for getting her in the caring hands of Dr. McNamara at CROW.
PS- After telling this story right after it happened, I was told several times…..”The moral of this story ….. Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong”.
UPDATE: January 31- Sandy The Sanderling was released back to the wild! With the help of Dr. McNamara at CROW, Sandy’s beak was healing nicely enough for her to eat and manage her life on her own. That a girl!