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A mother and father sandhill crane stood near their baby, guarding him from concerned passersby who tried to catch a glimpse of the injured bird.
At 8:40 a.m. March 31, a car driving through the intersection of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Malachite Drive struck the bird, East County resident Robin Cobb said.
Cobb was driving to work and stopped after she heard the car and the bird make contact, she added
After the bird’s parents carried it onto the lawn in front of the Lakewood Ranch YMCA, the mother guarded her baby, until Justin Matthews of Matthews Wildlife Rescue arrived at 9:15 a.m. He kept the mother bird back while he retrieved the injured baby bird.
The mother and father birds chased after the van and continued to call for the bird 20 minutes after Matthews drove away.
He brought the bird to Bayshore Animal Hospital, where it was euthanized this afternoon, because the hospital coulodn't salvage the bird's leg and one-legged birds can't legally be released back into the wild, Matthews said.
To Cobb and the other local residents who watched Matthews remove the bird from the scene, the bird's injury is a reminder that drivers need to pay closer attention to the birds while driving, Cobb said.
"We need to have signs that say to watch out for sandhill cranes," Cobb said. "We have signs for other animals, and these birds are the ones being hit. Drivers need to pay more attention when they see these birds. If there's a full-grown crane, there's probably a baby nearby."