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Seabirds

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Abstract

The coastlines of Britain and Ireland provide the most important breeding sites for seabirds in the northeast Atlantic Ocean and 25 species breed here regularly. Presentations include: trauma, such as fractures, and fishing hook and line entanglement injuries; poisoning, such as botulism, and the effects of oiling; and various infectious diseases. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of juvenile seabirds; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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/content/chapter/10.22233/9781910443316.chap24

Figures

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24.1 Commonly encountered seabirds. (a) Fulmar. (b) Gannets. (c) Shag. (d) European herring gull. (e) Kittiwake. (f) Arctic tern. (g) Razorbill. (h) Common guillemot. (i) Puffin. (© Andrew Kelly)
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24.3 Gannet bill showing keratinaceous plates of the upper bill and intubation for gaseous anaesthesia.
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24.4 Restraint technique for handing an adult European herring gull.
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24.5 Correct handling technique for restraint of a cormorant.
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24.6 When handling gannets, gloves should be worn as these birds can inflict severe injuries with their beaks. Gannets will try to stab the gloved hand as it approaches and the beak can be caught and restrained with the mouth open (as pictured). A second person can then safely restrain the wings and body for examination.
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24.7 A thin and weak common guillemot. Note the poor feather quality.
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24.8 Ventrodorsal radiographic view of a gannet that was presented with a dropped wing. The right proximal humerus is fractured and there is evidence of metallic fragments consistent with a firearm injury.
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24.9 Obtaining a blood sample from the medial metatarsal vein in a common guillemot. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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24.12 Tube feeding fluids to a common guillemot. The tube is inserted laterally and passed down the side of the oropharynx to avoid the central glottis. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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24.13 An anaesthetized gannet undergoing radiographic examination.
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24.14 An anaesthetized cormorant with ingested fishing line evident.
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24.15 Ventrodorsal whole body radiograph of a black-headed gull () showing an ingested fishing hook. This bird was euthanased due to the size and position of the hook. The author, however, has had good success removing smaller oesophageal hooks with no associated soft tissue injury that are located over the heart base, using a flexible endoscope and endoscopic retrieval forceps.
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24.16 An oiled common guillemot housed individually on soft blanket material.
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24.17 Holding an oiled common guillemot for hand washing. (Note for operator: safety gloves should be worn until the majority of the oil contaminant has been removed or when there is a risk of skin irritation to handlers.)
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24.18 Once the feathers are free of detergent, the water forms beads, a sign that washing has been successful.
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24.19 Common guillemots recuperating in an outside pool following hand washing for oil contamination.
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24.22 Simple housing for a gannet. Note the rubber matting to prevent foot sores.
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24.23 Early signs of pododermatitis starting to develop on the plantar surface of a gannet’s foot (particularly evident at the tarsometatarsal–phalangeal joint).
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24.25 European herring gull chicks. (© Secret World Wildlife Rescue)

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