Bird Found Entangled in Sports Net

By: Joanna Fitzgerald, Director of von Arx Wildlife Hospital

The chuck-will’s-widow was rescued after being found entangled in a sports net at a local school.

A school staff member noticed something was stuck in the net. She asked co-workers if they knew what it was; they told her it was a bird and that it had been stuck in the net since “yesterday”. The woman was horrified when she considered the lack of concern her co-workers showed and that they had left the bird to suffer.

The woman quickly freed the chuck-will’s-widow and secured him in a box while hospital staff arranged for a volunteer to retrieve and transport the bird to our hospital.

When the chuck-will’s-widow was admitted to the hospital he was extremely stressed. Hospital staff placed the bird in an animal intensive care unit to rest and calm down. A subsequent exam showed lacerations and raw spots on both wings where the bird had struggled to free itself from the netting.


The wounds on both wings were thoroughly cleaned and pain medication, an anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic and electrolytes were administered.

Despite our efforts, the situation proved fatal. The chuck-will’s-widow passed away the following day.

Of course there are many, many instances where people do the right thing and take the time to help wildlife in need but any instance where an animal needlessly suffers is one instance too many. Hospital staff must take advantage of the every teachable moment — these two situations provided that opportunity.

Undoubtedly, the severity of suffering and medical issues any sick, injured or orphaned animal experiences will be lessened if that animal is brought to our facility, or any licensed wildlife rehabilitator, immediately.

Please, if you see an animal in distress, take action and make a positive difference in the life of that animal. If you don’t know what to do, call the wildlife hospital for guidance. We can offer information and assistance that will keep you, and the animal safe while ensuring the animal receives care in a timely manner.


Recent Releases

A fish crow, a Virginia opossum, two blue jays, a great blue heron, a northern mockingbird, an eastern screech owl, a great egret, two eastern cottontails, three laughing gulls, an eastern phoebe, a Florida softshell turtle, two mourning doves, and eleven grey squirrels were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.