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A CARING wildlife expert has taught a young heron to fly - by running beside it while flapping his arms and squawking.

Bird-lover Gary Zammit, 42, hand-reared Dude after finding the chick minutes from death under a nest lashed by a storm which killed his mother.

But with no mum, grey heron Dude didn't know how to take to the skies - until Gary showed him.

Gary, of Portreath, Cornwall, said: "Having been brought up by humans, Dude thinks of himself as one of us. I had to tempt him along with food in the hope that instinct would kick in.

"I ended up running alongside flapping my arms like an idiot.

"He's also a bit lazy. He'd quite happily just stand around and be fed.

"Now, he'll soar around the buildings and go up to 70ft until I call him back down. It's a wonderful sight.

"It was bit like teaching a child to ride a bike."

Dude is now fully grown but can't be released into the wild - so he'll go to live at a wildlife park in Portreath.

Gary said: "I'm glad I was there to help him through the first few flaps."


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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 3, 2008
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