VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Nassau County SPCA is investigating the shooting of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron in Hewlett Bay Park.

The bird was shot in the wing with a pellet gun on Sunday, and suffered fractures in two places, CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.

“It’s a protected species so I would assume it’s protected under state and federal statutes,” Bob Sowers with the SPCA told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.

A witness who was with his family said he heard what he believed to be gunshots. Then he saw a man holding what looked like a pistol and saw the large bird fall from a tree.

The witness took his children home and called 911.

SPCA personnel took the bird to Central Veterinary Services in Valley Stream, where it underwent surgery. The bird was named Ty, Hall reported.

Dr. Greg Nelson, head of surgery at Central Veterinary Associates, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera the bird has a long road to recovery.

“His wing will take around 6 or 8 weeks to set if it’s going to set and we’re going to know if he’s out of the woods probably in the next three to five days,” Nelson said. “After he does heal, he’s going to lose a lot of muscle to that wing. He’s probably going to have to relearn to fly, so he’s got a lot of recovery ahead of him, a lot of big challenges for the little bird.”

The SPCA said it is “guardedly hopeful” the bird will recover.

“You know, it’s touch and go. I spoke to the surgeon, he said it’s wildlife, you don’t know. What is good is the fact that it’s eating, they’re able to hand feed it,” said Sowers.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services are aiding in the investigation.

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