Rare Bird Recovering After Swallowing Fish Hook

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A rare bird at the National Zoo is on the mend after swallowing a fish hook over the weekend. (Published Tuesday, Jul 6, 2010)

    A rare bird on the endangered species list is on the mend after swallowing a fish hook over the weekend at the National Zoo.

    Kori Bustard birds are known to eat anything in sight, including stuff they're not supposed to eat, like coins.

    Zookeepers noticed one particular Kori Bustard was unable to eat at all, and that gave them the first sign that something was wrong.

    "She didn't eat Saturday morning and afternoon," said zoo biologist Sara Hallager. "By Sunday morning, she was still off foods, so at that point, we called the veterinarians in who came and gave her an exam."

    What they found was a two inch fish hook stuck in her esophagus.

    "It was acting like it was hungry," said veterinarian Judi Lee Marrow. "A food item was tossed to it, thrown on the ground. The animal would stretch out her neck and then extract and not want to put her head down on the ground." 

    Because the hook was actually embedded in the esophagus, the vets had to make an incision into the side of her neck and pull the hook out surgically. The bird is now is making a quick recovery, actually eating a mouse Tuesday morning.

    Zookeepers think a flock of herrons that nest near the zoo might have brought a fish back from the Potomac with the hook attached and dropped it into the Kori Bustard yard at the zoo.