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Wildlife success story

January 9, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

On Dec. 29, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge concessionaire Tarpon Bay Explorers reported what appeared to be a sick Roseate Spoonbill near the Wildlife Drive fee booth. Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer John Thompson responded to the area and observed a roseate spoonbill walking slowly on the Indigo Trail. The bird's mouth was gaping open and he was able to walk up to it. The behavior was consistent with red tide ingestion, which can be fatal for birds. He secured the bird in a wildlife carrier and transported it to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife veterinary facility. On Jan. 2, CROW staff told Thompson that the patient was ready to be released back to the wild. On the same date, he met with them on Wildlife Drive. Thompson located a group of roseate spoonbills east of the observation tower. CROW staff set the wildlife carrier on the ground and opened the top. Many refuge visitors watched excitedly as the bird stepped out and stretched its wings into freedom. It flew south of Wildlife Drive and joined a group of roseate spoonbills resting in the shade of mangroves.

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