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. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)

    Nation

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?

    World

    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city

    World

    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.