Maximus the gannet chick rescued
Thursday, December 04 2008 @ 10:40 AM EST
Contributed by: Pat B
Link to the Article
A seabird chick which was stranded on the Bass Rock in the Forth has been rescued after it was abandoned by its parents because it was born so late.
The chick, named Maximus, is believed to have set a UK record for the latest chick of the season ever recorded.
Maximus' parents had been feeding him twice a day up until five days ago when they gave up.
The nine-week-old, rescued by the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, needs four weeks before it can fly.
The Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth holds a huge gannet colony.
At the height of the summer breeding season about 150,000 birds nest there.
Maggie Sheddan, Scottish Seabird Centre Bass Rock guide, said they had been keeping an eye on Maximus from cameras on the rock.
She told BBC Scotland news website: "He has become quite a celebrity here and we just couldn't let him die on camera.
"His parents have done incredibly well feeding him twice a day but it had got to the point where they needed all their energy to feed themselves.
"When I picked him up his neck was thin and usually this is the strongest part of a gannet's anatomy because it needs to be strong when its diving for fish.
"We got him in the nick of time and I am confident he will survive because I can hear him fighting in the box just now so he must have some energy left."
Maximus will now be taken to a family in North Berwick who have experience in looking after gannets and be fed on two fish a day before he is returned to the wild in four weeks time.
The egg was laid in August and hatched in September.
The last time a record was set for the latest gannet chick on the Bass Rock was 24 November 1963.
All the other gannets, which live for about 37 years, are now out at sea, with the youngest birds heading for warmer climes.
Experts believe the gannets are breeding later in the year because food is scarce, possibly due to global warming and overfishing.