Detroit Zoo rescues sandhill crane with broken beak

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Royal Oak — A sandhill crane with a busted beak is now making his home at the Detroit Zoo.

The crane was found in Commerce Township, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Zoo officials said a rubber band was wrapped this sandhill crane's lower beak and caused it to crack and break off.

After staff rescued the bird in September, veterinarians discovered there was a rubber band wrapped tightly around his lower beak. They said the rubber band constricted and cut off blood supply to the area, causing the beak to crack and break off.

They also discovered buckshot in one of the bird’s legs.

Officials said the crane would die if returned to the wild because he is unable to eat on his own.

They also said the zoo's staff plan to develop a prosthetic beak for the bird.

“From his rescue in September, he has made such a transformation," Bonnie Van Dam, the zoo's associate curator of birds, said in a statement. "He represents an iconic, native Michigan species and we can’t wait to see him join the two other sandhill cranes here at the zoo."

The public will be able to see the three cranes in the American Grasslands habitat, near Buddy’s Pizza, when weather permits, officials said.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez