Rare tropical brown booby seabird rescued on Vancouver Island

Wild ARC says creature likely blown off course as a result of recent storms

The Pacific Northwest is home to some incredible scenery and unique species, but when a Brown Booby seabird was spotted at Ogden Point, it was a rarity.

Victoria resident June Elaine Pigeon came across the creature, more native to tropical climates, while out walking Jan. 29. Pigeon called the SPCA. The bird was taken to the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital where it was stabilized before being transferred to the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin where it is stable, but still suffering from wounds on its feet and breast.

“The first 72 hours are critical,” said Marguerite Sans, senior wildlife rehabilitator at Wild ARC. She described the bird as emaciated, a factor most likely contributing to her injuries.

“To me that suggests if she was off course and not finding a good place to find fish then she started doing poorly,” she explained.

The team at Wild ARC suspect the bird is female, based on the colour of her beak and her face. Typically males will have more blue around the eyes, whereas hers is more of a grey colour.

Sans said caring for her has been a gradual process because her body has already begun to shut down and cannot process food.

“The care of seabirds is very specific and they require quite specific care because they’re usually found out on water and because of those adaptations we have to be careful with their feather quality and their feet,” Sans said.

Brown Boobies rely on wind and air currents to travel, so Sans thinks it’s possible the recent windstorms have blown the bird off its migration patterns.

Still, it’s rare to see them in this area, some 3,000 km from their breeding sites in the Gulf of Mexico and the islands around Central America, where they are widespread.

“There is so little research and their colonies are sensitive on small islands so there is suspicion their population is declining,” she added.

Sans reminds people that if they come across an injured animal, it’s important to keep a distance, particularly with dogs or other pets. Moving the animal is not recommended either, in order to prevent further injury or stress.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Annual Langley bird count numbers drop

Bad weather likely cause, organizers say

Hugh Davis Way sign unveiled

The name of the pioneer and long-time Langley farmer now adorns road near his home

Crash clogs Hwy. 1 through Langley

Motor vehicle accident reported near Glover overpass

‘Guardian angels’ rush to help victim of purse snatching

Woman thanks quick actions and selflessness of total strangers

Watch the Feb. 27 Langley school board meeting in your PJs

Langley School Board meetings will be live-streamed starting Tuesday, Feb. 27

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Man who stole millions from Seabird Island band sentenced to 4.5 years jail

Stephen MacKinnon sentenced in Chilliwack court for stealing $2.3 million over eight years

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

Most Read