The very hungry oystercatcher

Posted: July 29, 2021Category: Birds in Care

The very hungry oystercatcher

Waitā the oystercatcher arrived depressed, severely underweight, with suspected head trauma, damaged flight feathers, and some bald patches. After fluid therapy, he spent the night in the ICU on oxygen. The team then began to tube feed him to try and put some weight back on.

Waitā in his aviary.

Waitā's aviary, complete with some greenery to hide in, live mealworms, dry mealworm and mussel soup, and a delicious tray of earthworms.

After a week, Waitā moved to an aviary, where he soon started demolishing all food in sight. Ever the connoisseur, Waitā turned up his beak at all frozen food options (fish, shrimp, shellfish, and whitebait). Thanks to generous sponsorship, Waitā was thoroughly spoiled with wild-caught earthworms, hand picked mussels, crispy dried mealworms, crunchy baby crabs, tender marine worms, and his favourite: live mealworms. Waitā gained a whopping 260 grams during his stay.

Dani the vet searching for crabs.

Waitā's vet Dani searching for tasty crabs and marine worms.

Waitā was banded, bathed, and released after over two months in care. He was released at a local beach, not far from where he was initially found. He immediately ran towards the other oystercatchers, then started foraging and had a splash in a tidal pool. You can watch the release video here.

Waitā with the other oystercatchers.

Waitā immediately joined the other oystercatchers.

Thank you to Waitā's sponsors: Julie, Lauren, Angela, Narelle, Jennifer, Lee, Jill, Manesha, Glynn, and Nikki.