Pigeon Guillemot: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week
Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network
Pigeon Guillemot Patient #3774
Pigeon Guillemots are uncommon patients at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. These native seabirds are in the Alcidae family, along with puffins. Pigeon Guillemot patient #3774 was found unable to move on East Beach. A rescuer brought the bird to the center, where wildlife staff discovered the bird had a partial thickness laceration to the patagium, which connects the shoulder to the wrist in a bird's wing. Thankfully, the patagial tendon was still intact. It could be repaired, but it was badly infected. The pigeon guillemot also had some superficial injuries on its feet likely from spending time on the beach.
Wildlife staff cleaned and bandaged the wound, gave the pigeon guillemot some fluids, pain killers, and antibiotics.
The next day, SBWCN wildlife veterinarian Dr. Avery Berkowitz anesthetized the bird and performed surgery on the wing. Over the next few days, staff worked hard to keep the bird warm, fed, and comfortable. The range of motion of the bird's wing increased, the injuries on its feet were healing, and the bird began diving and swimming in a pool made specifically for pelagic birds.
12 days after the surgery, the pigeon guillemot was in great shape. It was ready to return to the wild! Wildlife Care Network personnel brought the pigeon guillemot aboard an inflatable raft and rowed out from East Beach. They opened the carrier and the bird flew out quickly, staying near the raft for a while to let out some peeps of gratitude. Wildlife personnel watched him dive around the raft and fly off above the water.
Watch this video to see the pigeon guillemot go free:
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