By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – This is one very lucky Purple Gallinule, it’s less than a year old, it survived after it was shot with a blow dart in a lake near Hiatus and Sunrise Blvd in Plantation.

“About a week ago we found a bird with a dart in it’s back, a blow dart,” said the woman who found the bird. She does not want to be identified.

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She saw the bird on a Sunday, swimming with a dart several inches long sticking out of it. It took her a full week to catch him.

“It’s very heartbreaking to see an animal in distress and trying to assist and it doesn’t realize you’re trying to help it so, it took a full 7 days of catch and play with a net,” she said.

An x ray shows just how deep that dart was inside the bird’s body.

“That’s where the dart went in,” said Dr. Renata Schneider from the South Florida Wildlife Center as she pointed to a scabbed spot. “And where my thumb is right here is the bird’s spine, so this patient was very very lucky that the dart went just barely an inch beneath the spine,” she said.

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Dr. Schneider explains how incredible it is that the dart seemed to miss major organs.

“It went through what we call soft tissue, skin, air sacks which birds have into that sort of body wall underneath the muscle,” she said.

The bird has been on antibiotics since Sunday and it appears to be healing well.

What concerns both the doctor and the woman who found it is that more darts were found in the area and another bird was spotted after it too was shot with a dart.

“It was during the hurricane so I couldn’t get out there to grab him,” the woman who discovered the injured bird said. “I found him a couple days later, he had been able to pull it out himself. But he’s limping around on the lake,” she said.

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As for the bird that was taken in for treatment, vets expect to release him back into the wild in the next week or two.

Ted Scouten