By Joanna Fitzgerald
Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
A magnificent frigatebird and two grey squirrels were admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include in eastern screech owl, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Florida box turtle and a Brazilian-tailed bat.
The magnificent frigatebird was found on South Marco Beach on Marco Island unable to fly. Frigatebirds are large seabirds that are adapted for flying. They are unable to swim because their long wings and tiny feet make it impossible for them to take off from the water. Finding a frigatebird on the ground is never a good sign.
A physical exam showed the frigatebird was weak, emaciated and dehydrated. Sadly the frigatebird did not survive.
A snowy egret, a great egret and two sandwich terns were also admitted this week in extremely poor condition similar to that of the frigatebird. All four birds were emaciated and dehydrated and so weak they were unable to stand. Of these four birds, only the great egret has survived.
One sandwich tern and the snowy egret were found in North Naples. The second sandwich tern was found on Marco Island and the great egret was found in Golden Gate.
We do not have a pick-up service and therefore we rely on the public to assist with transporting injured wildlife to the hospital for treatment. When that is not possible, our volunteer critter couriers are called upon for help.
With these four patients, only the great egret was rescued and transported to our facility by a member of the public. Conservancy volunteer Critter Couriers transported the other birds to the wildlife hospital for professional medical assistance.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Summer is a difficult time of year at the wildlife hospital. Because so many of our volunteers are seasonal, we can lack the volunteers needed to respond to calls for help.
Please visit our website at www.conservancy.org and learn about the many opportunities there are to get involved.
Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.
However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.