Lili The Heron Flies Free

Lili Bonora was a graceful, generous woman.

A native of Monte Carlo, an accomplished cloisonné artist and concert pianist, a gifted cook and floral arranager, she was beloved in Westport. For 28 years Lili’s Fine Food and Catering served coffee, croissants and conversation to railroad passengers on the eastbound side of the station.

Lili died in October of 2011. She left behind countless friends and admirers.

Today, Lili lives again — in the form of a yellow tufted heron.

Heron 2

Lili the heron.

Over a year ago, the graceful bird had fallen out of her nest. She was attacked by crows.

The hatchling was found, and brought to Weston’s Wildlife in Crisis. There she was  lovingly nursed back to health — supported by generous donations that had been made in Lili Bonora’s honor.

On April 16 — around what would have been Lili’s 75th birthday — Lili the heron was set free in the salt marshes of Burying Hill Beach.

Lili stood in shock. She had never been outside. All day — and on into the night — she took stock of her new surroundings. Volunteers from Wildlife in Crisis monitored her, as she made her transition.

Lili, adapting to her new surroundings. (Photos/Sarah Gross)

Lili, adapting to her new surroundings. (Photos/Sarah Gross)

The next morning, Lili was safe in a tree. By Easter Sunday she was thriving.

The good folks at Wildlife in Crisis say the hardest part is not saving animals. It’s giving them back their freedom — letting them go.

Thanks to them, Westport now has 2 wonderful Lilis to remember.

(Hat tip to Sarah Gross, for the beautiful photos and wonderful story.)


5 responses to “Lili The Heron Flies Free

  1. “Lili”, a black-crowned night heron, was raised at Wildlife in Crisis where she was brought last summer as an injured fledgling . She was kept over the winter outside in a large flight cage where she was able to fly and prepare for release. Once she was released she flew up into a tree to familiarize herself with her new surroundings and soon thereafter began fishing on her own. Photo credit/Wildlife in Crisis.

    • g smithson

      Thanks Dara for all the amazing work that you and your army of angels do at WIC. Loved hearing about “Lili’s” recovery and release.

  2. Dan, you share the lives and stories of so many wonderful people in your blog; many of whom recently departed. But for me, along with the joy of learning about these individuals is the sadness of only now having had the opportunity to meet them through 06880. Very bittersweet, but much appreciated. Oh, to be able to go back in time, unring the bell and let them know how nice it is to meet them.

  3. Gloria Gouveia, Land Use Consultants

    The exquisite serendipity of every facet of this story takes my breath away. Bless you Dan and Dara and Sara and all who cared and shared.
    For those of us who didn’t know about WIC before now, how can we learn more about the organization?