DIXFIELD – A great blue heron with a possible broken leg nearly got a trip to a bird rehabilitator Tuesday afternoon.

But by the time game Warden David Chabot arrived at the manmade pond at Irving’s Forest Products plant where the bird was supposedly hurt, it had disappeared.

Chabot said plans had been made to transport the bird to Avian Haven, a rehabilitation center in Freedom. A spokeswoman at the center said about a dozen great blue herons with injuries are brought to the center annually.

Police Chief Richard Pickett said the department received a call about 1 p.m. Tuesday from Irving’s regarding an injured heron at the pond.

Pickett called the Maine Warden Service to learn what he should do. He drove to the site where Irving security officer Victor Dwinal said he had seen a snapping turtle about the size of a hub cap that he believed had attacked the heron.

“I saw the heron hauled backward and it tried to get away,” said Dwinal. “I’ve seen herons, ducks and geese every year (in the pond) but this is the first time I’ve seen a snapper grab one.”

Pickett was concerned that the bird might be in pain.

“I don’t want to see anything suffering,” he said.

Chabot, who arrived at the scene about 3:30 p.m., said he wasn’t so sure that a snapper was the cause of the heron’s injury.

“If a snapper did get it, it would have pulled the heron under the water,” Chabot said.

He said he gets calls about blue herons about twice a year. Most of the time they can be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

He said because the federally protected birds have such long legs, they sometimes break them walking on dam gates, in traps, and in other ways.

If anyone spots the injured heron, Chabot wants them to contact the Maine Warden Service.

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