|Pomarine Jaeger with his foot sticking out|
|Pomarine Jaeger on Tybee Island|
This bird isn't odd to find in this part of the country. However, it is extremely odd to find it on shore! These hefty birds are almost always found offshore, flying powerfully out over the ocean waters. What probably brought this bird inland was a problem with its left eye which was clearly injured and/ or infected somehow.
|A close-up view of the injured/infected left eye|
|Pomarine Jaeger preening|
|A look at the twisted tail|
We watched him as we inched up ever so slowly and cautiously towards him. "Regular" beach-goers (those not outfitted with binoculars, a camera, and a scope) walked right past him and he didn't flinch, so we decided to move in closer and get some better looks and shots of him. He seemed as calm as a cucumber and didn't seem to mind our presence. We figured he must have gotten used to it with all of the beach visitors that come and go. And he probably figured no one was really interested in him, except for these odd creatures approaching him with large black lenses.
As we gazed upon him, we relished admiringly over its mighty bill and beautiful face and physique. As we came around the side of him, we saw that very distinctive long and twisted central tail feather, clinching its identity along with its dark malar and lack of pale crescent at the base of its bill as in the Parasitic Jaeger. On his other side, his beauty was slightly blemished only by his wonky left eye which you could see was not able to open entirely. The poor thing had to turn the right side of his face upward in order to see what was going on above him.
|Pomarine Jaeger had an itch, so he turned over on his side to scratch it!|
|Jaeger looking up with his good right eye|
We had heard from other local birders that had previously re-located the bird that it could fly. And after about an hour at the beach, Nick witnessed the jaeger take a short burst of flight to move about 100 feet from where we originally spotted it. So although the bird is able to fly, his eye is keeping him grounded. We know that one other birder has contacted a rehabber to try to pick up the bird, but they did not have success in re-locating him. We, too, are trying to reach out to see if anyone can try to come back and get him. We've been told that rehabbing ocean birds can be very difficult, so the fate of this awesome bird is unknown at this time. But we have hope for him yet.
|Farewell and good luck to you, Mr. Jaeger|