Two tiny birds get big help from SeaWorldJuly 29, 2020
After several weeks of rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Diego, two tiny birds—a California least tern and a western snowy plover— were recently returned to their natural habitat for a second chance at life at a protected stretch of beach at Naval Base Coronado.
The California least tern, an endangered species, was found at Silver Strand State Beach campground. Separated from its parents and weighing just one ounce, the chick would not have survived on its own. Without parents to learn from, this little bird needed a safe place to mature and hone its flying and foraging skills. SeaWorld’s team fed and raised the bird and provided that safe environment.
The western snowy plover, a threatened species, was found unable to stand and in critical condition at the South Bay Salt Works. At the time of rescue, it weighed the equivalent of a teaspoon of water. The chick received four weeks of expert rehabilitative care at SeaWorld’s Bird Rescue Center, where the team administered hourly tube feedings for the first three days. The bird responded to treatment, quickly grew in strength and size, and in no time started to test its wings.
Both birds were returned to the wild in Coronado after being outfitted with ID bands so that wildlife biologists can monitor their progress.
While these two birds are small in size, their importance to the local ecosystem is huge. Both species are markers of the health of our coastal beaches and ocean environments. It’s imperative that SeaWorld and other rescue organizations work to protect these birds and their nesting sites. The return of these two birds illustrates the phenomenal collaboration between Naval Base Coronado, SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo Global, who partner to collect, rehabilitate and release a handful of these threatened and endangered birds every nesting season.
So far this year, SeaWorld has rescued more than 300 birds, and more than 100 marine mammals.