Another NZ Juvenile Pied Cormorant - We called him Rarangi

Another NZ Juvenile Pied Cormorant - We called him Rarangi

We got a phone call a couple of weeks after Rapaura, the cormorant, was released. Apparently there was a sick cormorant down on Rarangi beach. Somewhere between the Blue Gum Corner and the Wairau Diversion. I choose to go from the Blue Gum end and walk up the beach towards the diversion. It was a dismal day, blooming freezing cold. About half way down I spotted a very wary cormorant fairly high up on the beach. I didn't have my phone, so no pictures of the initial pick up. It was rather a sad little bird. It did try to get away as I approached but I persevered quietly and managed to get it wrapped up to carry all the way back to the car. When we popped it into a box the little bird collapsed into a heap. This was the moment I didn't think the bird would survive.  It was not a well bird at all. Exhausted, stressed from capture, and from the pick up I found the young bird to be very light in condition. It was unusually cold and hadn't obviously been getting much food. We got it home and began a warm up procedure and gave the bird some darkness and quiet. Warmth, darkness and quiet also helps any rescues to have a better chance at survival, and weirdly, in the past, I have had to train vets on this matter. 

Again we had to rush down the supermarket to buy the cheapest fish available. They knew me well at this point and joked, about me having another cormorant! Who me?! We kept Rarangi inside for a few days in a bigger container, the bottom thick with newspaper. One, for warmth, and two, they poop like someone has the hose on full blast.  Rarangi had no desire to move. He ('He' for the sake of donating the bird, at this time, a gender) mostly just lay flat out on the bottom of the box, no ability to hold his head up. Just enough energy to take the food we offered. Lucky juveniles haven't forgotten how to feed from the parent bird at this stage, but then Rarangi would just collapse again. The third day his head was up and he could sit up. He liked to watch TV at night, so here we are on the couch, Rarangi beside us in his box, all of us watching TV. He was a pretty cool character.

Once over this initial stage he just began to get a whole lot better. So Rarangi, very shortly, ended up where Rapaura used to live. Rarangi just got stronger by the day, and he too was with us for about 8 weeks., and was released down the Vernon Lagoons eventually. Unfortunately, at this time I cannot find the photos of Rarangi's release, but let me just say, before he left, he gave me a nose piercing and let me know he was doing extremely well, and yes, I am definitely still a wild bird.

Posted: Thursday 19 August 2021

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