Veronica Flesher, Patch Staff
Birders have been getting a thrill over the past several days, as a rarely-seen seabird has made its way to the Jersey Shore.
The dovekie, also known as little auk, is an Arctic seabird that usually is found out in the ocean. But recent storms have blown them towards the beach, resulting in sightings in spots around Cape May County including Avalon, Cape May Point and Sunset Beach, according to eBird.org, where enthusiasts can share sightings of rare birds.
Strong winds have stranded some dovekies, as was the case last week when Seaville Fire Rescue found one of these birds in distress in the Dinos Diner parking lot.
What should you do if you spot one of these birds? Rutgers Wildlife Conservation and Management shared some tips.
When a dovekie ends up on land, it can’t walk or fly off. It gets stranded, and it needs to be in the water. But if you see one, you can’t just put it back in the water, according to Rutgers officials.
Take a towel or gloves (bare hands will disrupt the waterproofing on its feathers) and place the bird in a box lined with a towel and that has air holes poked in it. Do not give the bird food or water, as dovekies become easily distressed, Rutgers officials said.
Keep the bird in a warm, dry, quiet place until it can be brought to a proper rehabilitation center that cares for seabirds. These include Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge (856-983-3329), Toms River Avian Care (732-255-9270), Tri-State Bird Rescue, DE (302-737-9543), South Jersey (856-207-7026 or 856-217-5957) or find one close to you via this list.