New England Wildlife Center Receives Injured Bird Mistaken for Penguin
When a peculiar bird was retrieved from Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable on Sunday, it appeared a penguin had somehow made its way to the northern hemisphere, but after New England Wildlife took in the bird, it turns out there is a little more to the story.
It all started when someone saw the bird struggling in the surf. From a distance, it looked just like a penguin. It’s not a typical sight for Massachusetts, so the person reported it to local rangers, who retrieved the bird from the rough waters.
“Rangers retrieved the bird and determined that it was in fact a razorbill,” wrote the New England Wildlife Center on Facebook. “They are members of the native Auk family, and while they look similar to penguins, they are not closely related by genetics.”
However, it is still a little peculiar that a razorbill would find its way to Barnstable. The largest razorbill colony is in western Iceland, with small numbers on islands in the Gulf of Maine. New Englanders are usually able to spot them during the winter months, but the only thing they have in common with penguins is their coloring and size.
The New England Wildlife Center explained that the bird was most likely caught in one of the recent storms and was blown too close to shore, which is detrimental to razorbills.
“This poor fellow was in trouble because his primary feathers were in very bad condition,” wrote the center. “Many are broken and others have been badly tattered.” The center believes this bird would not have survived in its current condition and they will continue to care for the bird while it recovers.
Thanks to the caring bystanders, this razorbill gets a second chance at life and the SouthCoast can rest assured that we are not being invaded by penguins.