Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Series of photos capture impromptu St. Pete bird rescue

ST. PETERSBURG — The helpless bird was perched on a barnacle-covered piling near the Vinoy Marina, motionless and exhausted as it stood against a chilly breeze.

Rebecca Suriano first spotted the bird, which appeared to be an anhinga, Wednesday as she set out for an early evening walk along Bay Shore Drive NE. When she approached it, she knew something was wrong. She leaned over a sea wall to get a closer look and found the source of its plight.

A small, spongy piece of blue fabric was wrapped around the beak, muzzling it shut.

"It was just so sad," Suriano, 28, recalled. She wondered what could be done as she stood as helplessly as the bird.

Then, Suriano became a witness to something remarkable — a small show of compassion for a distressed animal, which could easily have gone ignored.

About half a dozen people gathered with Suriano at the water's edge. There was talk of calling wildlife officials.

"There were people running up trying to find nets," said Dave Dusseault, who had been on a bike ride through downtown when he saw the gathering. "Lots of people wanted to help."

They all watched and wondered for a moment before Dusseault, 51, ventured over the sea wall and onto the piling. Without another word, another man took off his shoes, hopped the wall and waded into the water.

The two approached slowly, assessing the bird's movements as they moved closer. In a swift and smooth grasp, the other man reached out and took hold of the bird before both moved it to the shoreline.

The tired animal remained limp and motionless while they held it down. A third man went to work on the piece of fabric with a pocketknife. It took five to 10 minutes of careful cutting before it came loose.

The men let go, and the bird spread its wings over the water and drifted away.

Suriano captured the impromptu wildlife rescue in a series of cellphone pictures. Afterward, the three rescuers posed with smiles and thumbs up.

None of them knew each other. Before they dispersed, Suriano only got Dusseault's name. The effort touched the new St. Petersburg resident, who just recently moved here from New Jersey.

"People are just so kind-hearted," she said. "It just kind of melted me. It was a show of humanity at its best."

Series of photos capture impromptu St. Pete bird rescue 03/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photos of the Day for August 22, 2017 - Eclipse 2017 edition

    Human Interest

    The feature image for this special Eclipse 2017 edition of Photo of the Day comes from Tampa Bay resident Dale McManus. The images below all come from NASA.

  2. NAACP demands Rick Scott and lawmakers remove Confederate symbols from Capitol

    Blogs

    Given the vacuum left by Gov. Rick Scott's silence on the matter, the NAACP Florida State Conference is calling for the remomval of all Confederate symbols at the state …

    Adora Obi Nweze
  3. Deputies arrest suspect in armed robbery of 86-year-old Brandon woman

    Crime

    Hillsborough County deputies have arrested a Tampa man suspected of following an 86-year-old woman to her Brandon home and robbing her at gunpoint.

    Hillsborough County deputies arrested Marcus Wayne Hunt, 28, of Tampa, accused of following an 86-year-old woman to her Brandon home and robbing her at gunpoint on Aug. 21, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Toddler struck by pickup truck in Riverview neighborhood

    Accidents

    RIVERVIEW — A 3-year-old girl was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Tuesday morning after she was struck by a pickup truck, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Five ideas for cool summer snacks

    Cooking

    The 90-degree temperatures are not letting up anytime soon. We Floridians know to keep some cold treats on hand through September. Ice cream. Lemonade. Ice pops. Whether you're packing a beach cooler or preparing for a pool party, we've got you covered. Level up your summer snack game with these five refreshing …

    What’s not to like about a homemade ice cream sandwich? The thin chocolate cake bakes in about 10 to 12 minutes, and from there it’s all chilling out.