Taronga Wildlife Hospital puts Sooty Terns back on the wing
Thursday 21st February 2013
Taronga Wildlife Hospital puts Sooty Terns back on the wing
Vet Nurse Amy and Hospital Assistant Vanessa releasing Sooty Terns

Following a successful rehabilitation at the Taronga Wildlife hospital, 11 sea birds have been released off the coast of Sydney Harbour. They included a Red-tailed Tropicbird, two Little Penguins and eight Sooty Terns.

The Sooty Terns arrived at the hospital after being blown ashore weak, dehydrated and underweight following the recent storms along the Queensland coast. After a two week intensive rehabilitation including a specialised diet and time in  a large aviary to build their strength, the birds were ready to fly. They will most likely join other Sooty Terns which are flying up and down the east coast of Australia at present.

Rescuers brought 14 Sooty Terns but unfortunately six were too ill and didn’t survive.  This is not uncommon when rehabilitating wildlife that has been affected by natural disasters or human conflicts as the stresses and injuries can sometimes be just too much.  

Sooty Tern, Little Penguin and Tropicbird Release

The two Little Penguins released were found on Bondi and Avalon beaches. Both were under weight and required supplementary feeding to bring them back to good health. Initially the two birds did not get along, but through their rehabilitation became close companions and were seen swimming around together and following the Water Police boat once released by Wildlife Hospital nurses.

Found onboard a cruise ship that had just returned from a cruise around New Zealand, the Red-tailed Tropicbird was brought to hospital by AQIS Officers to be inspected by Taronga Vets.  It is the rarest species of Tropic bird and nests across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Some days later the bird was actively flying around its aviary, also ready for release. It soared up from the boat and  flew out into the distance off the coast of Sydney.

Red-tailed Tropic Birds can be seen from the spectacular cliffs of Lord Howe Island, gliding on the air currents with their long streamer-like tail behind them.