For any not aware, yesterday--9/12/2017, a White-tailed Tropicbird was found exhausted on a dirt road adjacent to Pineville Rd in rural Marion county, GA. The bird was taken to a veterinarian in Columbus, GA with experience rehabbing birds.
The bird reportedly seemed to have much more energy this morning and appeared to be in good health after spending the night in a quiet, calm place but did not eat any of the live minnows in water given to it. This morning it defecated, a good sign that it likely had food still in its system. It was determined that the tropicbird needed to get to the coast for release ASAP today. My father Ted Theus, who retrieved the bird from the original finders and took it to the vet in Columbus released the bird on the gulf coast in Florida at St. Mark's NWR at approximately 3 PM Eastern today.
Here is the message from my dad: "Released at st mark's lighthouse with staff from the refuge--one of whom took photos which they will email to me. Went better than I even had hoped for. Bird took off immediately upon release with strong flight and observed with binocs until out of sight. It started vocalizing on the drive down. Became much more excited and acted as though it wanted out of cage for the first time as soon as car door was opened there by the gulf, as if it knew it was back where it belonged.”
Thanks to Brian Tinker for getting the word out about this bird and a big thanks to my dad Ted Theus. No doubt there are several birds like this that ended up in random places due to this storm that went undetected and didn't survive but thankful this was a success story! They are planning to write a story in the wildlife refuge newsletter about the release.
Good birding everyone!
-Andrew Theus of Savannah, GA
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