The brown booby, a tropical seabird not native to the Pacific Northwest, was found shivering and immobile at Ogden Point Jan. 29. Wild Arc photo

Brown Booby seabird a rare sight in Victoria

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 and the bird was taken to the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital 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,” she added.

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 if dogs or other pets are also present. Moving the animal is not recommended either, in order to prevent further injury or stress.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Single parent resource centre continues operations in partially-condemned building

Victoria’s 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre moves back into heritage home

Annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival expects 15,000 spectators

July 28 show features a pair of super cars that won prestigious awards at the Detroit Autorama show

Townhouses on the rise in popularity in Greater Victoria

A report finds 152 townhouse units in the construction pipeline and coming onto market in 2020.

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read