Bird is the word for Seneca Healthcare, which has been delayed in progressing on the new hospital build due to a nest resting high in the pines.
Shawn McKenzie, CEO of Seneca, told the tale during the Lake Almanor Town Hall this Monday, saying the federally protected bird was discovered just as timber operators were ready to drop the marked trees on the property. The sighting was promptly reported, ceasing all operations.
McKenzie says crews and staff have waited patiently for the chick to grow and fledge out of the nest. During a walk of the property this week it appears the mother and chick are about ready to begin their winter migration.
The finding has delayed the new build by six months. McKenzie reported if the trees were dropped on the property following the groundbreaking, grading and infrastructure work could have commenced prior to the winter cold setting in. Now this work will have to be completed in early spring, meaning the hospital is now anticipating first patients in August of 2026 rather than in February.
In honor of Seneca’s newfound avian friend, the new hospital’s cafe will be named the Blue Heron Cafe.