August 19, 2013
Injured Black Skimmer Gets a New Home
Shorebirds like the black skimmer and least terns are resorting to building nests on top of buildings rather than Florida’s beaches due to increasingly busy shores. Although rooftops provide flat, deserted space with no ground predators, flightless chicks fall off the roof tops leaving them severely injured.
On July 20, the South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, admitted a young skimmer who suffered from a fall and was underweight, anemic and had bumble lesions – a foot condition with symptoms ranging from minor swelling to bone alterations – on his feet.
The bird was treated with antibiotics and received regular baths to encourage preening behavior to improve the water-proofing of his feathers. After one week, the bird was able to spend time outside in one of the center’s aviaries where he was able to regain flight.
After rehabilitation efforts at SFWC and collaboration between the center and South Florida Audubon Society, the black skimmer was released to Sebastian Inlet State Park where he was reunited with several black skimmers nesting on a nearby island. Once comfortable with his new ability to fly, he skimmed over waters along the park’s beach for more than an hour.