Kim Wakefield won’t give up.
Morning, noon and before dusk, she and neighbors patrol nearby Kimzey Park, hoping to find the large blue heron that has called the area home for at least five years.
The problem is that the beautiful bird they now call Hope has had a piece of plastic — maybe a grocery sack or a bread bag — wrapped around her beak for at least two weeks, limiting her ability to eat.
“We go out there every day and have been trying to train her by feeding her slivers of fish with a pole net,” Wakefield said. “We are making progress in earning her trust.”
They hope to be able to get close enough to be able to capture her just long enough to remove the plastic from her beak.
But they didn’t see her Monday.
And now they worry that she’s growing weak from not eating, perhaps so weak that she can’t get back to the park for them to help her.
Colleyville city officials have been part of the effort to find and help the bird since Halloween.
They’ve been in touch with rescue groups and animal control, “but have been unable to catch the bird,” said Dustin Dangli, a spokesman for the city. “The bird has flown away during attempts to approach and capture it to remove the obstruction around its beak.
“The experts we have contacted told city staff the same thing: we will have to wait until the bird is unable to fly in order to catch it,” Dangli said. “Staff even examined the use of a tranquilizer, but Animal Control and local vets are unable to do so.”
Wakefield is trying to spread the word about Hope.
And she encourages people visiting park areas to pick up after themselves.
“This plastic bag, I promise you, came from someone who brought food to feed the ducks,” Wakefield said. “The bird was probably trying to get into the bag for food.
“People need to pick up their own trash and any other trash they see,” she said. “These wildlife birds are always getting into trouble with this stuff.”
For now, she and other neighbors are waiting and watching for Hope.
An animal rescue group is among those on standby, ready to help remove the plastic from Hope’s beak if and when she’s seen.
“I’m praying she comes back,” Wakefield said. “I don’t know how she has survived.”