Operation Taylor successful — swift heads to California

The white-throated swift, dubbed Taylor, has been cleared for take-off to the U.S.  - Wildlife Rescue Association photo
The white-throated swift, dubbed Taylor, has been cleared for take-off to the U.S.
— image credit: Wildlife Rescue Association photo

After weeks of waiting for permits, the white-throated swift that has been in the care of the Wildlife Rescue Association in Burnaby since early November will be leaving for California this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The swift was originally found lying on a sidewalk in Coquitlam underweight and suffering from concussion. The bird made a full recovery at the wildlife hospital but because white-throated swifts fly south for the winter, rehabilitation staff have spent the last few weeks waiting for permits allowing them to release the bird in the US.

Before it can cross the border, the swift has to be given a clean bill of health. At the end of last week, lab tests came back negative for a number of diseases including avian flu. Following a veterinary medical on Friday by an independent vet, it has been cleared for travel.

"We've got permits for everything we need to get across the border," said Yolanda Brooks, communications coordinator for the WRA.

Wildlife rehabilitation worker Chelsea Roberts will be making the 3,000km round trip with her partner. The first stop is the Sumas border, then Roberts will drive to PAWS near Seattle to pick up supplies. The bird, Roberts and her partner are expected to arrive in Sebastopol (52km) north of San Francisco, on Wednesday evening.

The swift will be handed over to staff at Native Songbird Care and Conservation in Sebastopol which has been closely involved with the permit process. Once it has acclimatized, the swift will be released with a local flock.

“The rehabilitation, care and transport of the swift have been extremely costly in terms of food, extra medical bills, permits and transport. But thanks to the fantastic response from the community to the Operation Taylor appeal, we were able to raise the funds without depleting the budget for the care of other animals,” says Linda Bakker, the WRA’s team leader of Wildlife Rehabilitation. “So many people have shown concern for the swift and we are delighted that the bird is finally on its way.”


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