19 year old Tern
A few days ago we received a call about a Royal Tern that was entangled in fishing line and had a hook in the right wing. The hook and line were removed but the bird would not fly away. We had the bird uber’d to us for treatment. The wound on the wing from the hook was minor and he only had mild swelling. We took x rays to make sure there was no fractures and also to see if the tern ingested any hooks. Most of the time with seabirds they will accidently swallow hooks, so we xray every seabird we intake to see if they have. The Tern was clear of internal hooks and treatment was started on the wing. Supportive care and medication to help with pain and the swelling.
The tern was also banded. Permitted bird banders will band birds mostly before they fledge the nest so they can keep track of species numbers and what happened to them. Members of the public can report the band if they are able to read them to contribute to banding data. We reported the band and discovered that the tern was banded in 1997 in North Carolina! The tern is 19 years old! Luckily the tern only needed a few days to recover before he was released back into the wild to live out another 19 years. 🙂