Animal Talk

(avery) #1

The tropicbird mystery

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I just want to share a little story with you
showing that the natural world is full of
mysteries. But few surpass the tale of the lone
migratory seabird, who ended up in the semi-
desert town of Calitzdorp, 80km as the crow
flies from the closest beach.
The red-tailed tropicbird breeds on remote
tropical islands as far east as the Hawaiian
Islands, and also on the south-west Australian
coast. Outside of breeding season they may
travel as far north as Japan and as far south
as New Zealand. They are also known to breed
on the coast of Mozambique. South Africans
very rarely come across these ‘air dancers’,

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but on 2 February 2019, Joseph from Bergsig,
Calitzdorp, saved such a bird from a gathering
crowd. The bird was taken to Cango Wildlife
Ranch. The bird weighed 550g, which meant
he hadn’t been ‘lost’ for too long. The team
started feeding him and he soon became more
energetic and ‘talkative’.
The Cango Wildlife Ranch team has reported
the bird to the Southern African Foundation for
the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)
and have also applied for the required permits
to transport him to their facility in Cape Town
to ensure this exotic and fly-loving bird’s
long-term wellbeing. He is temporarily safely
residing at Cango Wildlife Ranch’s Animal
Care Centre. The hope is to set him up for a
release back into the wild, which means that
all human contact is being kept to a minimum.
The riddle of how he made it to Calitzdorp
remains exactly that – a riddle, which has had
bird enthusiasts and professionals scratching
their heads in disbelief.
Mari-Lize Warrington
(Letter shortened)


What an inspiration – thank you Animaltalk
for encouraging people to walk their dogs. We
think it is a great initiative and we would like
to see more people do the same.
Since the beginning of the year, we have
seen more people in our neighbourhood
walking their dogs and we hope that they will
keep up with that during the winter months.
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