Anyone that knows us, will know that we are massive nature lovers aboard Snapper Charters. We have completed a number of marine and bird courses and enjoy looking for wildlife on our fishing and sightseeing trips. Given our love for wildlife, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that we seem to attract sick or injured birds in need of help. If there’s a bird in need, it will usually find us, one way or another!
Last month, we returned home to find an exhausted Fulmar in our garden. This was incredibly unusual because Fulmars are an offshore species that spend most of their time at sea. When they do seek land it is to nest on cliff tops and rocky outcrops. They do not willingly fly miles in land and take refuge on the grass.
The bird put up little fight when we approached, which was a bad sign. We assume it had got lost in the recent gale force winds and couldn’t muster the energy to find its way home. With the help of a pair of work gloves and a landing net, we picked up the Fulmar (now named Phillip) and made it a comfy bed in a stack and store, whilst we worked out what to do. We rang our usual bird rescue contact, who put us in touch with Derek who specialises in the rescue of seabirds.
Seabird rescued in Weymouth
Derek willingly accepted Phillip with plans to feed it up and nurse it back to health at his home. Apparently, Fulmar’s are quite tricky to look after. You can’t force feed them, because they’ll spit it back at you and they deteriorate quite quickly if you keep them too long. Fulmars are our favourite sea bird because of their feisty attitude! On fishing trips they often surround the boat waiting (not so patiently) for any scraps of fish that are thrown in!
Derek recommended an offshore release, so we were more than happy to volunteer ourselves to drop the bird at sea. We kept in touch with Derek who provided regular updates on the birds condition and the number of fish he had consumed!
Two days after finding him in our garden, Derek dropped the Fulmar down the boat ready to be released on our maiden fishing trip aboard the new Snapper Charters. We decided to release him a mile or so off Portland Bill – an area we often see these birds. The Fulmar happily stayed in his box until the time came to release him back into the wild. His initially leap was not very graceful due to the wind, but he safely made it back in the water where he stayed for around 30 minutes, before heading on his way.
We were delighted with the outcome and pleased that of all the gardens in Weymouth, he ended up in ours. Dereks help was invaluable and we have since learned of the excellent work he does. We have offered the boat as a platform for any future seabird releases!