Volunteers Help Storm Drenched Young Birds Survive

Tropical Storm Cindy was not kind to the hundreds of nesting least terns and black skimmers. The beach in Biloxi near Beauvoir is lined with dead soaked young skimmers and unhatched eggs.

Wednesday, members of the Audubon Society went on a rescue mission to recover the young birds. Volunteers scooped up more than 50 least terns and skimmers from the soggy sand on the beach.

The Audubon Society members weren't sure they'd find anything alive, but some of the birds are apparently strong willed.

"Here's one we thought was dead. He was upside down," one member said. "This one is still alive, look at that."

They found others too, though cold, wet and struggling to live. They thought one cradling an egg was dead too, but the volunteers were thrilled to see it wasn't giving up.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were gone, look at you," another member said.

The ladies say they know the strongest birds will make it through tropical storms and they want to help.

"We can't do anything about the storms, but we can certainly pick up those that have a chance," Audubon Society Member Millie Page said.

So they filled box after box of the nearly drowned creatures and loaded them into Gerry Morgan's SUV.

"It's so sad to see and all those eggs that have washed up. We can't do anything about the eggs but if we can save some it's certainly worth comin' out in the wind and the rain," Morgan said.

"It's amazing cause they just lift their heads up and they start sqawking at you and you think they were dead but they're not," volunteer Oliver Henry said.

The birds were taken to the wildlife rehab center north of Pass Christian where they were fed and warmed up. Volunteers say by late Wednesday afternoon they were able to put about 95 percent of the birds back on the beach.