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

Langley Township council hopefuls take part in Q&A

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

ELECTION: Langley Township mayoralty candidate Jack Froese

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

ELECTION: Langley Township mayoralty candidate Alex Joehl

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

ELECTION: Langley Township mayoralty candidate Anna Remenik

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

ELECTION: Langley Township council candidate Petrina Arnason

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Canada’s top general takes aim at new reports of military sexual assault

Gen. Jonathan Vance is unhappy some troops continue to ignore his order to cease all sexual misconduct

Most Read