A juvenile Tropicbird was released off the Heads in Sydney Harbour last week, three weeks after it was first rescued in Dunedoo, near Dubbo, nearly 300 kilometres from the ocean.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital Nurse Annabelle Schlemeier said she can only guess how the sea-bird got so far inland to Dunedoo. She suggested that perhaps it was blown in on strong winds or a cyclone.
The Tropicbird was discovered on a property in Dunedoo, and then taken to Taronga Western Plain Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital for treatment for dehydration and exhaustion. Once the bird was strong enough after three weeks of care, it was taken to Taronga Zoo, Sydney where it was released back into the wild.
The black beak and short tail feathers suggest that the Tropicbird was a juvenile, said Annabelle. As it reaches maturity, it will start to develop pure white plumage, a bright red beak and long, streaming tail feathers.
Tropicbirds are sea-birds that only come to land to nest. They generally fly around the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Ocean including Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and South Africa.
Their preference for the tropics means Tropicbirds are rarely seen in Sydney, and on exceptional occasions they have been seen as far south as Wollongong.