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 All,

 Northern Gannets are fairly common regular winter visitors
 in the Gulf of Mexico. We also see them in fall migration
 & in Spring migration, often well into May. God only knows
 exactly what happened to that poor critter, but it's  most
 probably a combination of several things that put most
 seabirds (& many other birds as well), into that condition.
 Even a minor injury can inhibit a bird from being able to
 secure an adequate nourishment. This results in malnutrition,
 in turn lowering the immune system allowing the microbes &/or
 parasites that are usually present (& normally kept in check),
 to overwhelm the bird. Young birds are often not very good
 hunters, & movement from an area of abundant fish to in some
 cases just a little less abundant prey, can mean the difference
 between a youngster that is naturally a good fisher surviving
 & one with a little less talent not surviving. Hard times help
 weed the less strong out of the gene pool, & this is good.

 But, in my opinion you are to be commended for your action.
 Because, in my opinion any bird in a similar condition that
 had made it through the stress of capture, & rehab should have
 another shot at a dip in the gene pool!! The docs in this case
 determined that your bird's systems were too far out of whack to
 be able to recover. In any case you did your part & have my
 applause.

 Wes Biggs
 Orlando

Tracy Mellody wrote:
>
> While vacation on Sanibel Island this week, I thought the sun had gotten to me when a juvenile Gannet floated passed me very close to the shore.  I watched it for awhile before I approached, but after floating  into several vacationers, I determined that there must be something very wrong.  It got caught up in waves and washed ashore where it seemed very disoriented.  I scooped it up in a towel and had my mother drive me to C.R.O.W. to get help.  Unfortunately the bird was very sick -- severely dehydrated and emaciated to the point of near death.  It's protein level was zero (the doc spent 5 minutes on the phone with me explaining the blood work results).  It ultimately had to be euthanized.
>
> The doc said that they get abut a dozen Gannets a year, but mostly around time of migration.  Some fall off the migration or are blown in by storms.  Usually half the birds can be rehabilitated and sometimes stay around the island after released -- others move on.  She was very surprised to see this bird so far south at this time of the year.  She said that it must have been floating out at sea for a long time.  Has anyone else out there seen this bird or has any experience with Gannets in this region?
>
> Tracy Mellody
>
> Tracy Mellody
> 813.684.6873
> [log in to unmask]
>
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--

 Wes Biggs
 Florida Nature Tours, Orlando  407/363-1360  [log in to unmask]
 http://www.floridanaturetours.com   ABA sponsored

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