November 13, 2012 was the luckiest day of a young Double-crested Cormorant’s life, although it probably felt like just the opposite to him at the time. On that day the bird was sitting in a sewage tunnel next to the Duamish River. He was entangled in fish netting, and had been for several days. With no way to escape, the cormorant faced a slow death by starvation, but his fortunes were about to change.
The cormorant’s plight had not gone unnoticed, and therein lies the luck. Workers from Seattle Public Utilities just happened to be checking the sewage tunnel on that day. They spotted the cormorant and realized he was in distress. After calling PAWS Wildlife Center for advice, the workers entered the tunnel and rescued the bird.
It took over a month, but the cormorant returned to a healthy body weight and his wing healed beautifully. He was maintained in a large, filtered pool while he re-grew feathers at the wound site.
On December 20, Wildlife Admissions Specialist Cindy Kirkendall, Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator Jamie Thomas and a handful of Seattle Public Utilities employees gathered on Constellation Beach in Seattle to watch the Cormorant return home. After exiting his transport carrier, the Cormorant decided to forgo the water and take directly to the air. After making several passes over the group of well-wishers below, he headed off to resume his wild, free life.