Rescued elegant tern chick nicknamed ‘Little Mike’ captures hearts of caretakers

One special baby bird has captured the hearts of its rescuers.

About 500 elegant terns chicks, a threatened species, have so far gone to a San Pedro rescue center after falling off two barges in the Long Beach Harbor in the days following the Fourth of July weekend. Those barges house a tern colony — possibly those that left Huntington Beach’s Bolsa Chica wetlands after being frightened when a drone crashed there earlier this year — that numbers in the thousands. And, experts have said, it’s possible the chicks began falling off because of a lack of space.

But ending up in the water is life-threatening for the baby seabirds: they can’t yet fly and their feathers are not yet waterproof.

As a result, dozens of carcasses have been discovered. But a multi-agency rescue effort has also saved many others.

In fact, of the 500 birds that have gone to International Bird Rescue, in San Pedro’s Angels Gate Park, about 170 have already been released, officials said Thursday, July 22.

And at least one more could be headed home this weekend.

His name is Little Mike.

Late last week, an IBR boat team was saving terns when it approached a chick that had been drifting underwater for nearly 20 seconds — and wasn’t breathing.

One Elegant Tern, dubbed “Little Mike,” has captured the hearts of his rescuers. More than 300 Elegant Terns were recovering in San Pedro Tuesday, July 20, 2021,at the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro. The Terns were recovered after stumbling off their nesting site and into the water in Long Beach Harbor in the days following the Fourth of July weekend. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

One Elegant Tern, dubbed “Little Mike,” has captured the hearts of his rescuers. More than 300 Elegant Terns were recovering in San Pedro Tuesday, July 20, 2021,at the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro. The Terns were recovered after stumbling off their nesting site and into the water in Long Beach Harbor in the days following the Fourth of July weekend. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

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More than 300 Elegant Terns were recovering in San Pedro Tuesday, July 20, 2021,at the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro. The Terns were recovered after stumbling off their nesting site and into the water in Long Beach Harbor in the days following the Fourth of July weekend. (Hunter Lee, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

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Julie Skoglund, director of operations at International Bird Rescue, quickly set about trying to resuscitate Little Mike.

She cleared his lungs — and got Little Mike breathing again. He was also treated for hypothermia.

“He was the tiniest little guy and I was determined to save him,” Skoglund said in a statement “It was touch and go but we’ve been able to revive a handful of birds we thought were dead using this technique – so I didn’t give up.”

And neither did Mike. He recovered quickly. Within 30 minutes, he was already running around and trying to eat Skoglund’s fingers.

IBR recovered more than …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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