COUNTY NEWS: Perking up! Rare booby bird found on Sussex beach ‘improving slowly but surely’

The red-footed booby bird

A rare red-footed booby bird that washed up on a beach in Sussex has been responding well to treatment in intensive care at the RSPCA.

The unusual bird is normally a resident of sunnier climes across the Caribbean but was rescued after he was found on the pebble beach in St Leonards-on-Sea by East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service on September 4.

He was very underweight and dehydrated and has since been in intensive care at RSPCA Mallydams Wood wildlife centre.

Richard Thompson, wildlife rehabilitation team manager at the centre, said: “The booby bird is doing well considering just how weak and dehydrated he was when he came in. He is improving slowly but surely.

“We have been keeping a close eye on him and keeping him warm with heat lamps.

At the moment we are feeding him with Zoolyte and piscivore solutions (a solution formulated for fish-eating animals) to try to stabilise him.

“He has just started eating sprats, a type of small fish, which he is being hand-fed at the moment and has put on a little bit of weight, which is fantastic news.

“He is beginning to preen his feathers and flap his wings vigorously to exercise too which is a good sign. But he is not out of the woods yet.

“We are just awaiting some blood test results to tell us more about his condition.

“At the moment we are still hand feeding him to make sure he is getting enough food and as he gains strength we are hoping he will feed himself and become more independent.

“It is incredible to think a bird from around 4,000 miles away has ended up here - and we have no idea how he got here. It is such a mystery and we will probably never know.”

The booby bird is the first recorded red-footed booby bird in the UK.

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