Injured shorebird found under car in Halifax County dies after surgery

An injured shorebird was found injured under a car in Halifax county. The bird likely came in...
An injured shorebird was found injured under a car in Halifax county. The bird likely came in with the remnants of hurricane Laura.(WDBJ)
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 10:08 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2020 at 10:11 PM EDT
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HALIFAX, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: The Clapper Rail died Wednesday afternoon after surgery to repair a broken leg and shoulder bones at the Virginia Wildlife Center in Waynesboro.

The bird’s prognosis was guarded because one of the breaks was close to a joint, which could cause complications, according to Amanda Nicholson, the director of outreach at the center.

ORIGINAL STORY: A bird known to live in the salt marshes and coastal areas was found days after remnants of Hurricane Laura moved through our area.

The Clapper Rail was discovered injured under a car in Halifax county Monday. A rescuer collected the bird and drove five hours round-trip to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife center to get it help.

“This particular Clapper Rail sustained two fractures to the right femur,” says Sabrina Garvin with the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center. The bird was transferred early Tuesday morning to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro for specialty surgery. The leg will need to be pinned to be repaired.

Surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Since birds often ride out the hurricane in the calmer eye, it makes sense that these birds can come inland with the storm until it falls apart and they can safely exit.

The radar images below were captured just before landfall suggesting there were indeed birds in hurricane Laura’s eye. There’s no way of knowing the types, or how many.

“Be on the lookout for stranded and unusual birds – a whole swath of unusual birds have shown up locally over the past few days due to the remains of the hurricanes moving in, says Garvin.”

Many of these birds will find their way back home. However, some are injured or may now be stranded in an unsuitable habitat. “While this is part of nature, many bird species, including this one, have declined due to human activity and habitat loss – so if we have a chance to save birds like this one we view it as something we should do.”


  • Clapper Rails, due to living near the ocean, have special salt glands that allow them to drink saltwater safely
  • Their eggs can be totally submerged in over a foot of water during high tide and still hatch.
  • This particular bird will carry their young on their back if water gets too high for the young chicks.

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