Shy albatross released to the Southern Ocean. PHOTO: © IFAW /Eric J WoehlerThe following blog comes to us from Eric Woehler, IFAW Tasmania

A juvenile shy albatross was recently returned to the Southern Ocean following a short detour to the Tasmanian Central Highlands.

Albatrosses are renowned for their flying prowess, but exceptional and ongoing gale force winds forced this youngster into the Tamar River valley in northern Tasmania. It was found alive but tired on the shore, some 40km from the open sea.

Unable to locate a vet or wildlife clinic late in the afternoon, the bird accompanied its rescuer home to Poatina, in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, more than 80km inland.

The next day the bird was delivered safely to a wildlife veterinarian who passed the bird onto the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, an International Fund for Animal Welfare partner, for rehabilitation and release.

X-rays confirmed no injuries, the bird was in good condition and healthy but exhausted from surviving the gale force winds.

After a few days at Bonorong to rest and recover and the bird was ready for release. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys provided a vessel to take the bird out several kilometres off the coast for release. After a few minutes gazing at the ocean and seeing several adult shy albatrosses flying around the vessel, the youngster jumped into the water and started paddling away from us, back in its natural habitat.

As it paddled away from us, the adults joined the juvenile albatross on the water. As we left, it was seen sitting on the ocean, preening its feathers and preparing to continue its circum-polar flight using its 2.4m wingspan to fly almost effortlessly over the Southern Ocean until returning to land to breed in several years time.

–EW 

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Article source: IFAW

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