(CNS): A red-footed booby bird discovered many thousands of miles from home, underweight and dehydrated, on a pebble beach along the UK’s south coast in September has flown back home to Cayman in time for Christmas. British press reports reveal that the bird, which was nicknamed ‘Norman’, flew the 5,000 journey back last week after the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (RSPCA) nursed him back to health after he had clearly lost his way.
He was rescued after he washed up on the beach at St Leonards-on-Sea by a passer-by.
After intensive care at the charity’s wildlife centre under a heat lamp to ward off the chilly English weather and a diet of sprats to build up his strength, he was declared fit to be returned with the assistance of British Airways.
No one is quite sure how Norman managed to be blown off course and end up in East Sussex but the first red-footed booby bird ever recorded in the UK is back in Cayman, where he will remain in quarantine for a few weeks before re-joining his fellow boobies at the nature reserve on Little Cayman.
“It is just fantastic to see Norman make his way home after the team here have worked so hard nursing him back to health and full strength,” Mallydams wildlife rehabilitation team manager Richard Thompson told the UK media. “We are used to dealing with native seabirds here, like gulls and terns, but he is the first booby bird we have ever seen here at the RSPCA and the UK. It is amazing to think we’ve had a hand in his care.”
RSPCA researcher Barbara Watson flew with Norman to keep an eye on his progress and carry out vet checks before and after the flight.
“It is incredible to think how he got to the south coast of England,” she said. “I don’t think we will ever really know how, but it is amazing and we are really grateful to everyone that has had a hand in helping him to get him back home safely.”