Gale force south easterly winds on Easter Saturday wreaked havoc amongst the seabirds. Evanne Rothwell submitted these pictures of a Southern Giant Petrel that she and fellow SANCCOB volunteers rescued.
“I thought you might enjoy seeing what I had to go and collect on Easter Sunday- a result of the horrendous winds on Saturday. This guy reminded us of a Dodo he was so big. It took 3 of us to handle and tube feed him 2 hourly! That beak is something else!!!!
I don’t know why we thought we might have a lie-in! As SANCCOB volunteers, we were rushed off our feet with gannets. A lot of them had bad fractures of the wings and one had a badly broken mouth and beak – all needing euthanasia. The others went up to SANCCOB, who have many there. We have to give them 2 hourly tube feeds of electrolytes and water to combat shock and dehydration. We had collected 6 birds by lunchtime.
We even had 1 gannet arrive from Noordhoek in a box on the back of a motorbike – a new experience for both gannet and Rothwells. The gannet had its head under its wing and was hoping that the experience was all a bad dream!
Last report from SANCCOB is that the Southern Giant Petrel is fat, feisty and well and should be released from Robben Island in a day or two after an antibiotic shot for a grazed foot. What a privilege to have handled him! Giant Southern Petrels are classified as vulnerable on the Red Data List.”
Giant Petrels are the largest of the petrel family. Southern Giant Petrels weigh between 2.5and 5.8 kgs and have a wingspan of between 1.8 and 2m. They are fairly commonly found along the South African coast, scavenging from fishing boats and around seal colonies and following ships at sea. 30 000 pairs breed on sub-Antarctic islands.(Sasol Birds of Southern Africa).