Rehabilitated flamingos freed in Malta

This video from Malta says about itself:

Rehabilitated flamingos released at Għadira Nature Reserve

27 September 2017

Autumn migration of birds is in full swing these days.

Over the past weeks, the Maltese Islands saw a remarkable passage of Greater Flamingos.

Flocks of over a hundred birds together have been seen flying along the coast, consisting of adults and young birds which hatched earlier this year.

When such big movements occur, young weak birds become stranded behind, with these birds ending up often on our beaches, weak and tired.

One Flamingo landed at White Tower Bay in Mellieħa on the 30th August. People immediately called BirdLife Malta and the police, however the bird was picked up and mishandled by an individual and was later recovered by police.

Another Flamingo appeared in Birżebbuġa on the 9th September, following the storms that hit the island the day before. This bird was rescued by BirdLife Malta staff.

Both Flamingos were taken to the attention of a veterinary, who recommended that both birds needed some care and nursing before being let off again in the wild.

Flamingos are protected species, and such birds are prized by taxidermists, thus incurring a serious risk of being shot illegally. Their habitats in Malta are very restricted, with Salina and Għadira being amongst the habitats which are closest to the lakes these birds have hatched in, probably along the Tunisian coast.

Following some specialised care by BirdLife Malta staff, these Flamingos have now been rehabilitated in full health, and following another check by a veterinarian, the birds were deemed as fit for realeasing back into the wild. On the 19th September we released both Flamingos at the Għadira Nature Reserve, after fitting on them unique rings above their knees, so they can be identified should they turn up somewhere else outside Għadira.

We can never tell how long these birds shall stay over, however we can assure that should they turn up along any of Malta’s beaches, we can protect them from being persecuted or harmed.

Unfortunately one of the two Flamingos is still unable to fly, having been mishandled badly when it was recovered. Its injuries should heal, enabling it to eventually migrate.

In the meantime, we appeal to all to take note of the following should a Flamingo be seen:

a) If you see a Flamingo outside the Għadira Nature Reserve, call
BirdLife Malta’s emergency line on 7925 5697 or 21347 646
b) Please do not approach, touch or handle the bird. Its legs and
neck are very delicate and any harm can compromise the bird’s
c) Please assure that until a staff member of BirdLife Malta turns
up, the bird is kept out of harm’s way. If it is approaching danger
like more people or a road, just stand in its way so it doesn’t
proceed further. Please explain this to other people who may
congregate around it.
d) No food or liquids should be offered to the bird. Flamingos are
very specialised filter feeders and they have a very delicate
digestive system.

At BirdLife Malta, we are doing our best to ensure that stranded or injured birds like these are given another chance. If you would like to give us a helping hand, do contribute to our crowdfunding campaign which we have just launched. You can donate here.

Only with your help can we be remain effective in keeping birds out of harm’s way and ensuring they can be returned to the wild in their appropriate environment.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Veerle van Werde.

9 thoughts on “Rehabilitated flamingos freed in Malta

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