July 8, 2009

Scuba divers rescue struggling bird

A group of British scuba divers in waters half a mile off the coast said they encountered an unusual sight -- an Australia-native bird struggling to swim.

Members of the Torbay Sub-Aqua Club said they were about a half a mile off the coast of England's Berry Head coastline when they spotted a bright blue budgerigar, a bird native to the Australian desert, flapping furiously in the water in an attempt to stay afloat, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

I noticed something fluttering and bobbing up and down on the surface of the water some distance away, said Cathy Jackman, a member of the scuba club. We went off to investigate and realized that it was a bird of some sort. The bird was flapping and disappearing under the water and had almost drowned as it clearly could not take off or swim.

We spun around on our boat. It took three passes as it was extremely windy, but we eventually managed to rescue the bird, she said. The bird turned out to be a ringed budgie. It couldn't open its eyes at first and I didn't think he was going to make it. He was like a floppy, wet rag.

The Little Valley Animal Shelter in Exeter, England, said the bird is recovering nicely. It is believed to be a pet that became disoriented after escaping from its cage and the shelter said it bears a numbered ring on its leg.