Very rare admission found on Marco yard

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A greater shearwater was among the 49 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include an ovenbird, an anhinga, a burrowing owl, a Florida box turtle, and a marsh rabbit.

The greater shearwater was found in a yard on Marco Island. Shearwaters migrate along the Atlantic coast with rare sighting in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the past 22 years, this greater shearwater is only one of two shearwaters ever admitted to the wildlife hospital at the Conservancy.

The shearwater was in fairly good condition although the bird was a bit thin and the blood vessels on the webbing of both its feet were ruptured.

Currently, the shearwater is recovering in the bird room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. Daily treatment includes handfeeding and administration of electrolytes, antifungal medication, an anti-inflammatory and pain medication twice daily. Staff also applies a disinfectant spray to the bird’s feet where blisters have formed.

The shearwater spends the day in a large tub in the water therapy area of the bird room which allows the bird to swim ad lib. The pool is equipped with a hammock made of soft netting for the shearwater to haul out and rest as needed.

Recent Releases — 41 Animals Return Home

  • 2 Florida softshell turtles
  • 6 northern mockingbirds
  • 2 mourning doves
  • 1 gray kingbird
  • 1 Virginia opossum
  • 1 red-shouldered hawk
  • 1 common moorhen
  • 3 red-bellied woodpeckers
  • 6 peninsula cooters
  • 1 chimney swift
  • 4 raccoons
  • 1 brown thrasher
  • 4 blue jays
  • 2 eastern screech owls
  • 1 common ground dove
  • 1 gopher tortoise
  • 2 eastern cottontails
  • 1 Florida box turtle
  • 1 striped mud turtle

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Volunteers are needed more than ever during our incredibly busy summer season. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see

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