Sandhill crane dies after being shot with nail gun

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A sandhill crane found after being shot with a nail gun died Tuesday evening. 

Justin Matthews of Matthews Wildlife Rescue found the injured bird Monday, off of Upper Manatee River Road in Bradenton. Matthews brought it to Dr. Don Swerida at Laurel Road Veterinary Clinic, where the bird was x-rayed and the nail was removed.

The folks at the clinic named the bird Sandy, which was still too young to be properly sexed, so the name fit either way.

Dr. Don, as he is known, said he routinely performs surgery on wildlife in the hopes of returning them to their native habitat. The 20-minute procedure he performed on Sandy was successful and Sandy was moved to Save our Seabirds in Sarasota for the next phase of recovery. 

After the surgery, Dr. Don said he was hopeful about Sandy's prognosis, but later Tuesday night, Sandy succumbed to the injury.

The nail Dr. Don removed was almost as long as his hand. The x-ray showed it narrowly missed the bird's windpipe, but went all the way through its neck and scraped the bones in the vertebrae. 

Sandy had been doing remarkably well given the amount of trauma he had suffered. He was standing with the assistance of a sling under his wings, eating and drinking water.

Sometimes however, no matter the quality of care, an injury like Sandy's is not survivable.

It was unclear who may have been responsible for injuring the bird or whether it was intentional.