PORT HARDY—A juvenile heron was not the first avian passenger Merrilee Tognela has driven down-Island. And it likely won’t be the last.
“She rescues all the animals from up here,” Chelsea Landy said as she watched Tognela, a local realtor, load the apparently injured bird in her apartment’s parking lot Friday.
The bird was found by Landy’s husband, Jeff Brent Jr., as he returned home from work Thursday evening with co-worker James McLaughlin.
The heron was at the side of the road as they passed, and they backed up to check whether it was alive.
When it did not fly off or run away at their approach, the men decided to pick it up.
“They thought it might have been hit by a car,” said Landy.
Brent first went to the local veterinary hospital, where staff said they don’t take wild birds, but passed along the number for the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Centre in Comox.
After keeping the bird at home overnight, the couple posted a message asking if anyone could drive the bird to the centre Friday.
Tognela, who previously had driven an injured seagull to the centre, responded quickly and drove to the couple’s apartment to pick up the bird.