A Turn For The Better For A Least Tern

least tern in habitatleast tern standing on rockThe following story was shared with us by Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware.

This diminutive tern, the smallest species of American tern equivalent in size to the Northern cardinal, was found in dire shape by an employee of an environmental agency and transported by a Tri-State volunteer to our clinic for care.

The adult was severely dehydrated and displayed signs of botulism. Ingestion of the botulism toxin (which occurs naturally in the environment) can result in paralysis and death. Treatment includes flushing the toxin from the patient’s system with oral and subcutaneous fluids and providing other supportive care.

least tern on sandThe tern was gavaged with EmerAid Intensive Care Piscivore frequently for the first few days. The tern improved quickly and soon showed a healthy appetite and began self-feeding. After several days of intensive care, the tern was able to stand, swim, preen, and fly.

Once the tern returned to optimal health and strength and showed strong flight, it was released by a volunteer in an appropriate habitat with others of its species to continue its life in the wild. Release photo courtesy of Sue McVoy.