Crane shot with arrow rescued

Team captures crane, removes arrow and releases it back into the wild

A male sandhill crane shot with an arrow earlier this month has had the arrow removed and has been released back into the wild in the hope that he will recover from his injury and be able to make the fall migration back to California. The male is part of a family group that includes his female mate and two colts, or cranes born this year.

At 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 9, the male crane with an arrow shot through its body was reported in an area where he could be caught. The rescue team — Jason Sodergren, who often rescues injured eagles, hawks, owls, and cranes; retired veterinarian Ralph Broshes; and Nina Faust, co-founder of Kachemak Crane Watch — quickly consulted on the rescue plan. The effort included many of the human neighbors who have watched this crane family for at least eight years. This year the pair has two colts, which the injured male has valiantly fed and defended despite his injury.

With people in strategic places to track and block the crane’s escape, Sodergren headed straight for the injured male with his big fish net. The crane eluded his first try and fled through the alders to the next yard with Sodergren hot on his trail. A maze of grassy mowed trails allowed the crane to quickly flee in the next yard, but the waving vegetation gave him away and shortly thereafter Sodergren had him carefully netted, safely held, and ready for care.

With Sodergren expertly handling the crane, and Faust assisting the veterinary procedure, Broshes quickly cut off the arrow’s lower end, extracted the arrow, administered antibiotics, examined the wing that had been pinned, and agreed with the team’s consensus of releasing the crane to his family immediately.

Sodergren carried the crane back to where the family was feeding and let him go. He ran off with his wings spread wide and was soon reunited with his family. Kachemak Crane Watch will keep checking in with his human neighbors for updates on his condition as he recuperates. We are hoping for a full recovery that will allow him to migrate back to California for the winter.

A big thank you to all of the crane family’s human neighbors who care deeply about their local crane family and went out of their way to get them help. And thank you to the Homer Veterinary Clinic for donating the medication to help this injured crane.

The person who committed this wildlife crime still has not been identified. The Alaska State Wildlife Troopers would appreciate information that would help in finding the person or persons who committed shot this crane. If you have information about this wildlife crime, please call the Troopers at 907-262-4453.