Categorized | Environment, Featured

From slim chance to success

Healed at last (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Wildlife Center)

Healed at last (Photo courtesy of Hawaii Wildlife Center)


A Brown Booby is back in the wild thanks to the continued partnership of the Kauai Save our Shearwaters (SOS) Program and the Hawaii Wildlife Center (HWC).

At the beginning of the year, the Save our Shearwaters Program on Kauai received an injured Brown Booby with a severely broken wing. Upon taking x-rays of the bird, it was made clear that it would be a long, challenging road to restore full flight capacity to the booby.

The booby was kept in the care of SOS for about three and a half months then transferred to HWC for long-term rehabilitation at the end of March.

Greg, one of the Center’s wonderful volunteer rescue pilots, flew the booby from Kauai to Upolu Airport, where the patient was picked up in the HWC rescue vehicle by staff members.

Once at the Center, the booby was given a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that included nutritional support, regular check-ups and plenty of pool time.

Despite the initial odds, the fiesty bird continued to recover and HWC staff members were thrilled when they began spotting him taking practice flights in the seabird flight pen and conditioning pool.

X-ray of the booby's fractured wing. (Photo courtesy of Kauai Save our Shearwaters)

X-ray of the booby’s fractured wing. (Photo courtesy of Kauai Save our Shearwaters)

A few months later, he was ready for release.

The release was held down Lighthouse Road on the day before Father’s Day. It was a beautiful, windy day and the release transport was made possible by the partnership of Hawaii Forest and Trail and Kohala Zipline.

The road leading down to Lighthouse is extremely rugged – providing a huge challenge for even the most capable of 4-wheel drive vehicles – but was no match for Hawaii Forest and Trail and Kohala Zipline’s 6-wheel drive Pinzgauer (a vehicle we were told was originally designed to climb the Swiss Alps).

HWC staff, volunteers and of course the bird of honor were able to make it down to the release site with no problems. Mahalo to Chris, our skilled Pinzgauer driver from Hawaii Forest and Trail.

Everyone kept a good distance behind the kennel while Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager and Wildlife Technician Judi and Sarah released the booby.

The booby immediately took off and had no problems getting airborne. Though most seabirds immediately bolt for the ocean, this bird flew around for a while, flapping, hovering, and showing off to the group.

After a little bit of fun it made its way out to sea, broken wing no more.

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