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Visitors help save baby longtail from drowning

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Delicate task: Rescuers balance the injured longtail on a paddle

Longtime visitors to Bermuda Susan and Jerry Waller enjoyed a little adventure during their most recent visit helping to save a baby longtail from drowning.

The married couple spotted the juvenile bird floating in the water off The Reefs where they were staying. They noticed that it was trying to fly but was getting taken further out to sea with the tide. They decided to contact the hotel and immediately Bermudian staff members Clarkston Smith and Adrianna Lowe took a kayak on to the water.

They were able to scoop up the bird using the oar paddle where it stayed until getting close to shore at which point it jumped into the water.

Reefs guest Nick DiVita was able to catch the longtail while Mrs Waller found a beach towel to wrap it up in. The Reefs staff members wrapped up the chick and carefully placed it in a crevice in the beach cliff.

Mr and Mrs Waller then contacted the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo to arrange for the bird to be transported to the aquarium to be treated.

Mr Waller said: “These are beautiful birds to watch flying out of the cliffs around the Island. But when you see a young one floating out on the ocean before its time to fly knowing it will inevitably drown, there’s only one thing to do and that is to try help with a rescue, which as you can see — can be done if done in time.”

Jerry and Susan Waller have visited Bermuda some 42 times and stayed at The Reefs hotel 38 times since 1990. By coincidence, they were involved in a similar rescue about four years ago.

Mr Waller recalled: “Surprisingly we were involved in a similar longtail rescue about four years ago in almost the same manner with the same result — the baby Longtail was saved via a kayak rescue and it was sent to the aquarium for further care.”

As for the progress of the bird, Mr Waller added: “All we know is that after we contacted The Reefs front desk, they immediately went into action and the longtail was taken to the aquarium to be taken care of until it matured and was ready to fly on its own. The staff at the aquarium knows what to do.”

Rescuers attemp to balance the Bermuda Longtail on a paddle. (Photograph by Jerry Waller)
Mission accomplished: Frequent Flyers Jerry and Susan Waller on their 42nd trip to Bermuda, 38th visit to The Reefs Resort, initiated the rescue of a hatchling white-tailed tropicbird, also known as “the Bermuda longtail”. Inset: Keeping the longtail on the paddle proves a tricky business
Safe and sound: The Bermuda Longtail
Frequent Flyers Jerry and Susan Waller on their 42nd trip to Bermuda, 38th visit to The Reefs Resort, initiated the rescue of a hatchling White-Tailed Tropicbird, also known as "The Bermuda Longtial". (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)