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Crane rescues Great Blue Heron from her roof
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A large Great Blue Heron nursing a bullet wound ended up on the roof of Manteca animal lover Tracy Crane.

The bird had a large bullet wound in his right shoulder near the leading edge of his wing and was making a racket, squawking loudly, when the Cranes returned to their home in the 14600 block of Pueblo Drive in Raymus Village east of Highway 99 and north of Lathrop Road. about 7:30 last Monday night.

“He was magnificent!” she said. “Gorgeous! Shined my light on him and it looked like part of his right wing had been broken.  I am a huge animal lover so I immediately bonded with him and was going to do whatever it took to rescue this guy.”

After several Google searches she confirmed he was a Great Blue Heron — a 46-inch tall bird that bites hard and strikes with lightning speed.

Crane realized it was going to be a challenge to get the big bird down from the roof safely and to an animal rescue. Crane said she called more than 25 different agencies asking for help, even some in the Bay Area.  

A neighbor the prior week had called nearby Lathrop-Manteca Fire Station 33, asking them to rescue their parrot that had flown out of their house into a tree. It was a successful rescue. But the much larger and aggressive Great Blue Heron was more of a liability for the Manteca-Lathrop Fire Department.

“I did find a rescue — the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center — that would take him but they didn’t open until 10 a.m. Tuesday morning,” she noted.

Crane said was indecisive in whether she should try to get him down that night or wait until morning. She decided to wait until dawn.

“I checked on him several times throughout the night and found him just standing there in the same spot,” she said.

The next morning a crowd had gathered in front of her home as kids and their parents were walking toward the bus stop.

“We didn’t even own a ladder” to try and rescue him off the roof,” she said.

So she drove to her dad’s home and picked up a ladder and some blankets and a large wardrobe box.

“I pretty much called everyone and anyone I could think of that might have been home at the time,” Crane said. “I did get ahold of one of my friends who agreed to come and help my husband get the Heron off the roof.”

In the process the Heron tried to fly from the rescuers and fell onto the grass. 

“At this point he was no longer standing and was obviously very weak. Surprisingly he was very docile,” she said. “It seemed like he was trusting us and knew we would help him. Into the box and off to the rescue, we went.”

Calling the rescue every day and sometimes twice a day, she learned that the radius and ulna bones were intact which she said was a very good sign as they are basic to flight.  The recovery period is going to be quite long, she was told, and it will be several weeks before he is released into an in-flight cage where his strength will be built up prior to his release back into the wild.

Crane said she was so thankful for the help of the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center on Geer Road in Hughson that she has offered to volunteer her services for a half day each week.

She is urging others to do the same as volunteers are sorely needed. The center’s website is http//