A MIGRATING bird has been airlifted to safety by helicopter and released back into the wild after being found exhausted on a North Sea oil rig.
The exhausted water rail, which is normally found in freshwater wetlands, was taken into the care of the Scottish SPCA after the animal welfare charity was contacted by staff on the North sea installation.
The small bird had landed on the unidentified rig’s helideck on 24 October.
An SSPCA spokeswoman explained: “The bird was flown by helicopter to Aberdeen, where it was collected by Animal Rescue Officer Karen Hogg. The water rail was then transported to the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Alloa, before being released on Wednesday.”
Colin Seddon, the centre’s manager, said: “This water rail was likely a winter migrant from Northern Europe who got caught up in strong winds over the North Sea. It seems the bird became exhausted and managed to find refuge on the oil rig. It was unable to fly off again so we were contacted for help.”
He continued: “The water rail was fit and well by the time it was released at Loch Gelly in Fife. “This was an ideal spot as the loch is surrounded by reedbeds, with no fishing and very little disturbance.”