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Three Ring Ranch releases white tail tropic bird

And he’s off. (Photo courtesy of Norm Goody | Three Ring Ranch)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

A white tail tropic bird took flight Saturday morning and disappeared over the ocean.

Ann Goody, of Three Ring Ranch, had no problem saying goodbye to her latest houseguest, after nursing it back to health and setting it off on its second chance at life.

“We held onto it one more night to allow it to be 100 percent ready to go,” she said. “Our goal with these protected species is to find that delicate balance between holding onto the bird too long and setting it free too soon.”

As with all the protected species she cares for, Goody follows the regulations set out in US&W Service Migratory Bird CFR 50.

The juvenile white tailed tropic bird must have left its home on the cliffs south of Keauhou and somehow struck something hard – perhaps a ship – and then floated on the surface of the sea with a head injury.

“The bird was soaking wet, which is a bad condition for a seabird who preens and maintains a waterproof feather condition that enables it to fly, dive and float while remaining dry,” Goody said.

A Captain Zodiac crew came across the injured fledgling Wednesday and rushed it to Goody’s exotic animal sanctuary.

Goody fed the bird three times a day while it recuperated in the sanctuary intensive care unit.

By Saturday morning, it was ready for freedom.

The white tail tropic bird is ready for release on the shoreline Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy of Norm Goody | Three Ring Ranch)

Goody said she was pleased to see the bird take flight and happily head out to sea, ready to start hunting for its next meal.

Goody explained that the bird parents don’t hang around and help them survive nor teach them to fish. The birds are on their own and have to learn to fish right away to survive. Eventually those who do learn disperse across the islands and take up with others out over the water.

When they are about three years old, they find a mate and return to the cliffs to nest and rear a chick.

Fishermen love seeing these guys hovering over the water and diving since they identify small bait fish, which the larger game fish follow. These birds were used in ancient navigation as a sign that land was near.

The dazzling white color of the mature adults is broken by some black bars on the wings and back but the stripes on the injured bird are typical of juvenile plumage, she said.

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(Photo courtesy of Norm Goody | Three Ring Ranch)

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