Woman befriends 'loveable' heron
GALLERY Known for its sharp beak and grey hunched wings the heron is perhaps not the most adorable of creatures but Squeak could be about to change all that - if you can see past the mashed fish.
KNOWN for its sharp beak and grey hunched wings the heron is perhaps not the most adorable of creatures but Squeak could be about to change all that - if you can see past the mashed fish.
The infant is the adopted 'pet' of Kathy Sadler, of Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, who has taken the bedraggled reject to her heart.
The young heron was found by a local vet abandoned in a garden near Newmarket - with no parents or siblings in sight.
As it had no parents to bring the little orphan regurgitated tit bits, Squeak faced starvation or the vet's needle until Mrs Sadler, who has also saved hedgehogs and other injured animals, volunteered to hand raise the bird.
Carefully grinding up its food every three hours Mrs Sadler, who has ME and hasn't worked for three years, says the heron has proved a godsend.
Through careful research into herons' diet and behaviour she has formed an unlikely bond with what was once barely more than a forlorn bag of partly formed feathers.
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“He has given me a reason to get up in the morning,” she said. “He has been wonderful and very affectionate.
“He feeds from my hand and now he associates me with food. Once I was sitting out in the garden and he climbed into my lap and tucked his beak on my neck.
“He is really sweet and is often looking for cuddles. He needs feeding every three hours but I don't mind. I hear him calling for food and I come out with mashed fish - it is sweet.
“His call is a kind of squeak and that is how he got his name. Of all the animals I have rescued he is definitely my favourite but with the smell of fish other people who visit aren't so sure.”
Mrs Sadler now plans to build a permanent habitat in her garden for the three-and-half-week-old heron to grow up in. The animal enthusiast hopes the scheme will encourage the bird to stay in the area, which has many lakes and rivers, and visit her regularly for snacks.
The 40-year-old is also keeping a log of Squeak's behaviour to improve knowledge of the mysterious birds, which are a number one enemy of garden pond owners.
“People don't know much about heron personality,” she added. “So I am writing down everything I am learning and I hope to put a book together at the end.”