Weeks after a young blue-footed booby was found injured and starved in Oceanside, the bird was able to return to its home in the wild Tuesday.
On Nov. 21, crews spotted the bird at the Oceanside Pier – hundreds of miles from the Gulf of California which is as far as blue-footed booby typically go, according to SeaWorld.
“It’s very unusual to find blue-footed boobies this far north. They’re typically found much further south,” said SeaWorld senior animal care specialist Jonathan Dwyer.
The rare sighting prompted officials to bring the bird to SeaWorld San Diego for immediate care.
The blue-footed booby was “very thin and suffering from an infection and wing injury,” SeaWorld said.
The rescue and amusement park treated the bird with antibiotics, and in less than three weeks, the blue-footed booby regained 40 percent of its body weight back.
With a clean bill of health, SeaWorld officials released the blue bird back into the wild Tuesday.
“We were able to give it a second chance at life and return it off the coast of La Jolla,” Dwyer said.
NBC 7 obtained video of the bird’s release. It showed a SeaWorld official gently throw the blue-footed from a boat. The bird skipped across the ocean before getting its bearings.
SeaWorld said almost 70 percent of the marine mammals it’s rescued has been released back into the wild. The injured blue-footed booby was one of more than 1,000 animals treated at SeaWorld in 2019 alone.