In two separate rescue operations, a black-crowned night heron was rescued from Customs Colony, Matunga on Saturday and a fully-grown rare dark water bird, masked booby, was rescued from outside Raj Bhavan near Malabar Hill on Tuesday.
However, due to excessive dehydration, the Masked Booby died on Thursday morning at a veterinary hospital in Kharghar.
Local animal rescuer Yogesh Panhale rescued both birds after he found them in distress. The long-limbed heron was provided first aid on Sunday morning and released at Mahim creek.
“The heron had been attacked by a crow and had injuries on its wings. These birds are most active during the night or around dusk and are majorly seen around wetlands,” said Panhale.
According to experts from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), during the latter phase of the monsoon, the black-crowned night-heron is seen at various locations in Mumbai. “This is the time for their nesting season and they are generally found around mango trees,” said Raju Kasambe, important bird areas’ programme manager, BNHS.
In the second case, the adult masked booby weighs nearly 1300 grams (1.3 kg) but the birds found at Raj Bhavan lost weight due to dehydration and weighed only 350gms.
“For the last few days, we had kept the bird on saline. However, its body was completely covered with ectoparasites (lice) and its blue padded feet changed to grey. These were clear signs of the bird’s health deteriorating,” said Dr Yuvraj Kaginkar, veterinarian, Myvets trust hospital where it was treated.
The bird, with an 80cm wingspan is found in tropical waters. According to experts at BNHS, the masked booby is a pelagic bird (sea-bird) and there has been documentation of one or two birds in Mumbai every year during the monsoon season.
“These birds are very powerful with regard to their weight and body structure but due to high wind speeds over the sea, they are pushed towards the shore. Owing to excessive exhaustion, they die on reaching the shore,” said Kasambe.
About the birds:
The masked booby (Sula dactylatra) (in pic above) can be found throughout different coasts across the world including the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, the Atlantic coasts of Brazil and Africa, northern Australia, many oceanic islands in the western and central Pacific.
Black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) are stocky birds compared to many of their long-limbed heron relatives. In daylight, adults cut a striking figure in grey-and-black plumage and long white head plumes. These social birds breed in colonies of stick nests usually built over water.