Thanks to the awareness of guests here at the Ocean Isle Inn, a stranded aquatic bird was safely rescued on our beach yesterday.
The castaway is a Common Loon, lost on his migration path from the north. He had washed up on shore here at Ocean Isle Beach due to exhaustion from near starvation. Front desk staff at the Ocean Isle Inn were alerted and quick to respond to the situation. Though the immediate contact for wild bird rescue was unavailable at the time, other advocates for animal welfare were at liberty. Janie Withers and Ellen Rothenberg (president and vice-president of Paws-Ability, a non-profit animal rescue organization of Brunswick County) were ready and able to assist in the effort. They were on the scene in minutes with a container for the lost Loon. The young adult relaxed comfortably in the large plastic tub at the Inn until transport could be arranged to the Seabiscuit Wildlife Shelter in nearby Oak Island.
Seabiscuit Wildlife Shelter founder Mary Ellen Rogers was able to identify the individual as a Common Loon out of Canada. Turns out the Loon is not so “common” after all; evasive of the endangered species list at the moment but of “special concern”. If not regarded with interest, this species could be lost in the next 20 years.
Once at the Shelter, the Loon was placed in a fish-stocked basin pond where he immediately started making up for lost food! He was extremely malnourished (he’d lost half his body weight) and would have met a certain death. These birds live their entire lives in the water, using their feet to paddle constantly. It had looked like the Loon might have had a broken leg when he was lying on the beach but this is just the given appearance on land. He is receiving antibiotics at this time for a slight respiratory issue but recuperating, according to an update from Mary Ellen Rogers. He has a Common Loon companion as well that was already in residence at the shelter. If all goes well, the wayward duo should be released during the summer.
I am glad I was personally able to take part in this Deliverance!