Almost a year after its rescue, on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 an Elegant Tern was released back into its natural habitat by Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC). The Elegant Tern was found with a broken wing in September of 2014 in Cambria and was quickly put in the capable hands of Dr. Shannon Riggs, DVM, Director of Animal Care at PWC.
While this lucky bird received the best possible care, in general Terns don’t always thrive in a rehabilitation setting because they don’t like eating frozen or thawed fish. These guys prefer to catch their own. Knowing live food would increase their resident Elegant Tern’s chances of a full recovery is what inspired Facilities Director, Kathleen Dillon to develop a new “minnow program.” The program provides live food for some of PWC’s more finicky guests and gives young birds a safe place to sharpen their hunting skills. Plans for extending the minnow program for herons and egrets are forthcoming
Elegant Terns do not live in SLO County year around. They prefer to breed in dense colonies on the coast of the U.S. and Mexico and migrate to South America for the winter. It wasn’t until Steve Schubert, a friend of PWC, spotted a flock of Elegants in the Back Bay that volunteer Virginia Flaherty was able to reunite this beautiful bird with members of his family.
Learn more about Elegant Terns and Pacific Wildlife Care by visiting www.pacificwildlifecare.org