Arctic bird spotted in Acton last month after storm; thick-billed murre found ‘emaciated’

Austin Sharpe was cleaning snow off his car on Jan. 17 in Acton when his spouse, from inside the home, noticed a odd bird land on the other side of the car, he reported.

“She will come jogging out, and she’s, like, ‘You gotta arrive. Swift, rapid,’ and I went about the other facet of the auto since I experienced no plan what she was talking about,” Sharpe, 42, explained in a phone interview. “And correct in front of us was this black and white bird standing up on its two feet, and it seemed just like a penguin.”

The chicken was a thick-billed murre, a species which is typical in the Arctic location but not in Massachusetts, stated Wayne Petersen, director of crucial fowl locations at Mass Audubon.

“They breed as far south as Newfoundland, but they’re truly a high Arctic nester,” Petersen claimed. “In other words, they are not the sort of factor that anybody’s probable to see unless of course they’re either traveling north or if they have the unconventional option to be offshore in the wintertime, which is where they spend the winter season — at sea, usually.”

The hen was probably displaced since of Winter season Storm Izzy, which had gusts of wind up to 70 miles for every hour in the vicinity of the coast. Robust storms, Petersen stated, can frequently displace seabirds.

“A ton of these things … can’t possibly feed adequately less than the ocean turbulence disorders, or they actually get exhausted attempting to battle the winds, and they get displaced — and in quite a few conditions, they die,” Petersen explained. “They’re possibly identified useless or exhausted on beach locations or coves and things alongside the coast or in serious conditions, they get carried inland.”

Sharpe claimed he and his spouse approached the chicken and understood it was injured simply because its wings had been “flopped around a tiny little bit.” He mentioned it was “bigger than a massive rooster standing up.” Immediately after stumbling on a YouTube online video, he reported, he figured out what species was outside their dwelling.

Sharpe known as several destinations that would not acknowledge the fowl for the reason that specific services essential a license to get in a migratory chicken, he reported.

Tufts Wildlife Clinic at Cummings University of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts College in North Grafton agreed to acquire the creature in, Sharpe stated.

The bird was “severely emaciated but did not have any accidents,” according to a assertion from Dr. Maureen Murray, director of the wildlife clinic.

The assertion mentioned the seabird was “outside of its normal assortment on the coastline.”

Murray said the murre was hand-fed and provided fluids until it was solid adequate to try to eat on its have. The fowl was also put in a pool to test its swimming skills and to assure that its feathers were waterproof, Murray said.

“Once back in the drinking water, the seabird swam effectively, commenced having ravenously and started out gaining body weight speedily,” she said.

On Feb. 2, the chook was transported to the Cape Cod branch of the New England Wildlife Heart and was released at the coast on the same day, Murray said.

This sighting is the next latest sighting of a hen not indigenous to Massachusetts. In December, a rare Steller’s sea eagle was noticed in Mass. near the Taunton River, which was most recently noticed in Boothbay Harbor, Maine on Jan. 24.

Matt Yan can be attained at [email protected]