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More booby news–and Zone-tailed Hawk

Dear friends,


If there are three Nazca Boobies in San Diego Bay now, there were probably four a few days ago, because on 26 August a subadult Nazca Booby was brought from North Island Naval Air Station to Project Wildlife, which transferred it to Sea World, which handles rehabilitation of local seabirds now. The bird died, but a picture sent me while it was still alive clearly showed the bill tinged with reddish. It was brought to me yesterday along with a carcass of a Red-footed Booby—of a bird that had been picked up on the San Diego Bay bait barge on 13 October 2018 and kept in captivity for some period that I don’t know. These boobies have gone through the standard necropsy procedure, so I will have to ask the vet staff at Sea World if they confirmed if either bird had swallowed a fishhook. In any case I’m planning reconstructive surgery on the Red-footed tomorrow.


In addition to the boobies, I also received yesterday, thanks to Linda King and Project Wildlife, a juvenile Zone-tailed Hawk found with a broken wing at the Tijuana River estuary on 31 August, picked up by Humane Law Enforcement.


We have also received two Yellow-crowned Night Herons this summer, one adult that came through Project Wildlife but unfortunately without an exact locality, and one recently fledged juvenile, which paid the price for depredating Snowy Plover chicks in the San Diego Bay salt works instead of the crabs it was supposed to be eating. Is the Yellow-crowned more numerous around San Diego than the Black-crowned yet?!?!


All these specimens have been or will be catalogued in the research collection of the San Diego Natural History Museum, serving as the core documentation of the rapid changes in our environment. I remember receiving our first San Diego County specimen of the Brown Booby in 1990 as if it were only yesterday….


Good birding,


Philip Unitt

San Diego


Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports