Bruised and Battered Seabirds from Jose Receiving Treatment


BARNSTABLE – Tropical Storm Jose not only brought strong winds and rain to Cape Cod for much of last week, but also some tired seabirds.

Dozens of birds, including 30 gannets, were brought to the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable for rehabilitation after suffering injuries from winds and strong onshore currents.

“Most of these birds came in emaciated, wind battered and exhausted,” said Zach Mertz, the executive director of Cape Wildlife Center. “It looked like a lot of them were fighting the current for quite some time.”

Along with gannets, several other species like shearwaters, fulmars and various gulls are being treated at the facility.

Mertz says many of them came in with sand laced through their feathers and broken waterproofing.

“We’ve been working on scene for the last five days to try to get these guys healthy and treat any injuries we saw, traumas,” Mertz said. “Luckily this time we haven’t seen a lot of disease processed. It has mostly been physical injury.”

Some of the birds only required food and topical antibiotics on superficial injuries.

“A few of the other cases we had to hold back. They came in really depressed and lethargic,” Mertz said. “A few of them had significant gashes and wounds, probably from being tossed in the surf. There were a couple who had torn webbing on their feet.”

About a dozen of the gannets have been returned back into the wild out of the 30 which have been admitted to the facility.

Gannets have difficulty taking off from land and need to be released by boat in the ocean.

Yarmouth’s Department of Natural Resources have assisted center officials in releasing some of the gannets a few miles south of the Bass River.

Barnstable Department of Natural Resources will help assist in the release of some of the birds Tuesday.

The center is accepting donations to help cover the costs of supplies, food, and medications for the birds.

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