I received an email Friday morning from a volunteer at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage asking about a possible ride to Seward for a rescued FORK-TAILED STORM-PETREL. The bird had landed on a fishing boat and wouldn’t fly away. So the fisherman brought it to the BTLC for care. Nothing seemed to be wrong with the little st0rm-petrel, but a release in Cook Inlet was not desirable due to lack of food. After several emails and calls back and forth, a ride was found to Seward and the bird hitched a ride with my wonderful friends Sharyl and Cathy.
They arrived with the Fork-tailed Storm-petrel at Lowell Point just past high tide and just before sunset. Perfect timing! The eagles and peregrine falcon were done hunting for the day, so this disoriented little flutterbird had a chance.
I gently took the tiny, light gray bird out of the little crate and held him (or her) in one hand. He was very calm, and seemed to be slowly adjusting to the new sounds of the lapping waves, the saltwater smells, and the pouring rain.
I walked a short ways down the rocks to the water and opened my hand. I could feel him getting more and more alert sitting there, thinking about freedom. After several minutes, he finally fluttered to the water a short ways in front of me, and then started paddling away with his petite, black, webbed feet.
After several more long minutes he started to flutter a short distance, paddled some more, fluttered a longer distance, paddled some more, and then fluttered out of sight heading south towards the Gulf of Alaska into the gray water, gray twilight, and gray clouds, perfectly camouflaged. Bon voyage, little tubenose! May you find your kin not far away.
Thanks to the kind fisherman who brought the bird to the caring folks at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, and to Sharyl and Cathy who whisked him to Seward and freedom.
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter