Lisa saves longtail Shermy from Humberto
A six-week-old longtail chick was saved from the wrath of Hurricane Humberto thanks to a kindhearted resident.
Lisa Whitehead, from Grape Bay, Paget, took Shermy the chick from his nest shortly before Humberto’s arrival last Wednesday because she knew that waves frequently wash into his hole during storms.
The hole is about 20ft off the ground and has been used for years by the same breeding pair. Ms Whitehead said the birds usually lay their eggs late in the season, making them vulnerable to bad weather.
She said Shermy seemed unruffled by the move as he rode out the storm with the Whitehead family.
Ms Whitehead initially returned the chick to his hole yesterday, but said: “I kept an eye on the tide and it was coming up by 10.30am. And there might be another storm next week.”
She was also concerned that the mother bird might have seen that the hole was empty and flown away permanently.
Ms Whitehead eventually removed Shermy again and gave him a new home at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, where he will remain until he is fat enough to fly off.
Ms Whitehead nicknamed the chick Shermy, which is an amalgamation of the name of her friend Sherry Harm Tavares, who died about a year ago.
“She was always very supportive of my Facebook page and the photos I take. She was such a beautiful person.”
The Whiteheads have learnt a lot about longtails from monitoring the hole over the years.
“This one here I hardly ever saw the parents, but I knew they’d been there because you could smell the food they’d regurgitated into the baby’s throat,” she said.
In 2014, they rescued a chick they named Cliffy, who was eventually released by the aquarium.
Mrs Whitehead said aquarium curator Patrick Talbot followed Cliffy in a boat. They have been watching the hole since 2013, but it was only last year that they saw their first longtail chick successfully fledge the nest.
“That one we called Fluffy,” Ms Whitehead said. “People might say I’m an oddball for doing this, but I don’t really care.”
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