Steam rose from the soup as Tim poured it into the bowl. He held it in this hands and felt the heat spreading out into his frozen hands. Being a Shelby Farms park ranger in the dead of winter as almost as bad as being one in the heat of summer.
As he was unwrapping his sandwich, a terrible hullabaloo kicked up from the other side bay window. A blue heron was flailing about on the porch, one wing stretched out like it was hurt, the other flapping wildly. Tim recognized the tag band on the bird’s foot. It had nearly frozen to death last week after it fell in the lake. He had to bring it inside to thaw out.
Now it had apparently done something else stupid. Tim swore as he slipped on his heavy coat and gloves and made his way to the porch door.
Stepping out into the cold, he shivered immediately. Something was amiss; the heron had suddenly gone quiet. And apparently vanished from where it was on the porch.
The door clicked shut, and Tim looked up, stunned at what he saw.
The majestic bird was inside the visitor’s lodge, scarfing down his lunch.
Shelby Farms Park park is one of the largest urban green spaces in the nation. It has its own lake, miles of trails, even a herd of buffalo. And last winter, it had a blue heron that nearly froze to death and was saved by a park ranger and judicious use of central heating.