Aug 23, 2014

Poolside rescue in Los Gatos

Last night, late, we received a report of water bird, poolside, at a residence in Los Gatos. Photographs from the reporting party revealed it was a cormorant.

Cormorants are not able to fly from a standing position - they take flight by scuttling across the water - looking as though they're walking on water as they gain elevation.

Cormorants, loons, and grebes get stuck when they land in a body of water that doesn't allow them enough room to take flight. 

After a rain, these species can be found grounded on dark paved roads, having mistaken the reflective surface of the asphalt for water (Ouch!).

The next morning, the resident confirmed the bird was still in her yard. The Bear Family accepted the call.

Andrew Bear, his wife Charlotte, and son Benjamin have signed up as WES volunteer First Responders. 

Andrew has a tremendous amount of experience with wildlife capture and handling techniques as he also volunteers at the WIldlife Center of Silicon Valley, and he's teaching his family how to rescue animals.

Here's their report from the field:
When we arrived, the cormorant was standing at the pool's edge. As I approached, it jumped into the pool.
I wanted to try to capture it on land, so I got in the pool to pressure it out of the water. 
As planned, it jumped out and ran into a corner of the backyard. 
I jumped out of the pool and got within inches of netting the bird, but he slipped by me and back into the water. 
I decided to up our chances of catching it on land, and took the few minutes to set up a length of bird netting, creating a wall of net. If the bird went back into that same corner of the yard, which was likely, Charlotte and Benjamin could lift up the wall of netting and we'd have him contained.

I went back into the pool and was able to get the cormorant to hop back out.  
I was going to try and pressure him towards the area where we had the net set up, but noticed he was allowing me to get pretty close. 
I was handed the net and positioned it where I thought he would jump into the water. As predicted, he made for the water and I netted him as he dove!


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