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