Crewmembers aboard a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel in the Clearwater Harbor Marina saved this young egret from the chilly waters this month. PHOTO COURTESY OF KAREN MILLER
Suncoast staff report
Published: April 18, 2014
Updated: April 18, 2014 at 09:56 AM
CLEARWATER — Sure, they’re well-known for their proficiency in saving human lives, but that’s not all. Members of two local Coast Guard Auxiliaries proved that this month when they joined to save a young egret struggling to keep its head above water in Clearwater Harbor. Clearwater Flotilla crew members Ann Bennett, Rob Mancuso and Karen Miller, while aboard a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, spotted the imperiled animal and scooped it up in a net to bring it aboard. The crew then called for assistance from Dunedin Flotilla members Larry and Barb O’Brien, the founders of Gulf Coast Bird Rescue in Pinellas County.
According to an account submitted by Miller, Larry O’Brien began assisting the egret, first by tipping it upside down to remove any water in its chest. The bird’s wings was totally water-logged and suffering from hypothermia due to the chilly 66-degree water. Despite a less-than-optimistic initial reaction to the egret’s condition, O’Brien reported that it was fully recovered from the ordeal and released near Coachman Park the next day. “The Coast Guard Auxiliary prides itself on saving people from the sea and the sea from the people and can now add saving wildlife from the sea,” Miller wrote.