In December of 2012 a bird wreck was reported along the coast of New York. The unlucky species was the dovekie, also known as the little auk. Beached dovekies were reported along the shore, in parking lots, fields and even yards. Wildlife rehabilitation centers as well as local veterinarians reported admitting record numbers of dovekies that had injuries ranging from neurological dysfunction to severe trauma. Unfortunately aquatic birds are difficult to rehabilitate as they require special housing, feeding and handling due to their adaptations for life at sea instead of on land. Of the 22 injured dovekies one wildlife rehabilitation center sheltered, only one survived to be released back into the wild.
In an effort to better understand the origin of massive bird wrecks such as this, wildlife health specialists advise recording all conditions present at the time of a wreck so that these observations can be used to better understand and predict future wrecks. One way that you can get involved in monitoring the health of your local environment is by volunteering with a wildlife health monitoring network, such as WHER. WHER stands for “Wildlife Health Event Reporter” and is an online application that allows you to report observations of questionable wildlife health in your area. For more information visit their website at http://www.wher.org.
For more articles and pictures concerning the December 2012 dovekie wreck see links below!