Frigatebird treated at IBRRC makes the news

Nice article by Peter Fimrite on the front page of today’s San Francisco Chronicle about the Frigatebird found in Healdsburg and now being treated at IBRRC in Cordelia:

“A giant tropical bird – a type rarely, if ever, seen in the Bay Area – got stuck in the vortex of a hurricane-force Pacific storm this month and took a dizzying Wizard of Oz-like ride hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles off course.

That’s the theory of how it ended up in a tree in Healdsburg.

The gangly, feathered galoot with a hooked beak and wingspan topping 7 feet is recovering at a Bay Area animal rescue center after a couple of bird watchers spotted it in the tree and knew right away that it was alien to Northern California.

It was positively identified Tuesday as a male juvenile magnificent frigatebird, known scientifically as Fregata magnificens. The species is known to inhabit the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands. Although frigatebirds breed along the Pacific coast as far north as Mexico, they are most at home in steaming hot equatorial regions like the Galapagos Islands.

“In our entire 37 years, we’ve never treated one in Northern California,” said Monte Merrick, a wildlife rehabilitator for the International Bird Rescue Research Center, in Cordelia. “There have been sightings, but those sightings are rare.”

Read the complete story

See the video report

IBRRC’s website page on the Magnificent Frigatebird

3 thoughts on “Frigatebird treated at IBRRC makes the news”

  1. I believe my wife and I saw this bird on Dec. 28th, 29th or 30th soaring above healdsburg. I noticed a very large wingspanned seabird that I thought was relatively low above the plaza. It had white on the underside of its wings — perhaps immature coloration? I had never seen anything like it, and I thought it might be a soaring albatross. Very clearly not a gull, pelican or other common bay area bird. I remember watching it for some time and pointing it out to my wife.

  2. International Bird Rescue plans to release the Frigatebird in the Channel Islands in Southern California on Monday (2/4) or Tuesday if all goes well. After a successful rescue and rehab the bird is being moved in preparation for the release.
    Tom Rusert, Outreach & Release Coordinator – IBRRC

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