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Rare bird flies from Finland to Kenya

Friday January 24 2020
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The Osprey bird that was rescued on January 23, 2020, after flying over 6,000 kilometres from Finland, and put in the care of the Kenya Wildlife Service. PHOTO | COURTESY

By DICKENS WASONGA

A rare bird believed to have migrated from Finland and flown over 6,000 kilometres was on Thursday fished out of the waters of Lake Kanyaboli in Siaya County.

The Osprey, a fish-eating bird of prey, is believed to have flown a distance of 6,948 kilometres to land in Usalu Village in West Yimbo Location of Bondo Sub-County, Siaya County.

A resident of the tiny village located along the shores of the oxbow lake, Walter Oloo, is said to have spotted the bird three days earlier.

He reported the discovery to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel in Siaya County.

The bird’s origin was established from a reference ring on its leg, whose details show that it was ringed in Helsinki, Finland.

It was reportedly caught in a fishing net and had struggled to free itself, according to a press statement released by Paul Odoto, the KWS Communications Director, on Thursday.

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“It has some bruises on the legs but it appears healthy, though it has lost some weight, and is dehydrated,” Mr Udoto said.

The bird, according to the KWS statement, was delivered to the KWS Veterinary Department on Thursday.

"It will be stabilised by administering IV fluids and provided with a proper diet, then monitored for a few days before being released back to the wild," read the statement.

KWS Head of Veterinary Services Dr David Ndeereh said the agency will share the information with the East African Bird Ringing Association to obtain further details on the bird.

Ospreys, scientifically known as Pandion haliaetus, are also referred to as sea hawks or river hawks.

KWS Director in Charge of Research, Dr Patrick Omondi, appealed to the Siaya County Government to promote protection of Lake Victoria catchment areas, including Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve.

This is because a number of migratory birds have been sighted in these areas in recent surveys.

Two important players in the conservation and protection of birds in Kenya, and in Siaya county in particular -- Nature Kenya and Yala Ecosystem site support group (YESSG) -- were behind the rare bird's rescue.

YESSG, through its chairman Ayiro Lwala of Yimbo Usenge, posted the discovery on the group's page after getting in touch with the rescuer.

"This was on Sunday. Nature Kenya took up this matter and reported to the relevant departments as well as took the necessary steps to report the same to the ringing agency in Finland,” said David Maranya, a member of the group that brings together 53 nature conservationists.

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