Red-footed booby discovered in Dameisha

From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated:2021-08-17

Citizens discovered a young red-footed booby in the sea area off the Dameisha Seaside Park beach Wednesday, Shenzhen Evening News reported.


An adult red-footed booby.

The seabird, which is a national second-class protected animal, is currently under close observation at the Shenzhen Nature Reserve Management Center. It marks the second time Shenzhen has rescued a red-footed booby since it started keeping bird watching records.

According to a citizen surnamed Chen, the incident happened at about 11 a.m. Wednesday when he and his companions on a sailboat left the wharf for a short trip to the sea.

Not long after they set sail, Chen found a big bird flying slowly straight to the sailboat. When the bird was close to the boat, it suddenly dove down and almost hit Chen on the head.

The bird landed in a cabin at the back of the sailboat and stayed in the boat. It is reported that the bird is relatively large with grayish brown feathers, a clear downward hook in the front of its long beak and conspicuous red feet.

Not knowing what kind of bird it is, Chen and his companions decided to take it back to the wharf.

“We have been at sea for many years and believe that once we encounter unrecognized birds, they are likely to be protected wild animals,” Chen told the News. Without much experience in wildlife rescue, Chen called the Shenzhen Nature Reserve Management Center and asked them for help.

The center’s staffers arrived at Dameisha Yacht Club’s wharf at about 5 p.m. that day, put the bird into a special cage and took it for observation and safety.

The center said Thursday morning that the bird didn’t have much appetite and was not very active. Staff members suspected that it may have been somehow injured or may be unwell due to the recent high temperatures.

“We will work on a rescue plan seriously and strive to help restore its health and return it to nature as soon as possible,” a staffer with the center told the News.

In early February this year, a wounded red-footed booby was found in Yantian District and sent to the city’s wildlife rescue department, but the seabird unfortunately didn’t survive.

Tian Suixing, executive vice president of Shenzhen Bird Watching Society, said that red-footed boobies are typical pelagic birds and rarely venture close to coastal waters under normal circumstances.

The appearance of the red-footed booby in Dameisha might be due to the recent frequent typhoons in the South China Sea, which led the bird to deviate from its normal flight route, according to Tian.

Red-footed boobies, with the scientific name Sula sula, are found in tropical and sub-tropical waters across the globe. In China, the species is mainly distributed in Xisha Islands area.