1. ITV Report

Booby will be home for Christmas

The red footed booby was found 5000 miles from home Credit: RSPCA

An unusual tropical bird that was found washed up on a beach in the UK has been flown 5,000 miles home in time for Christmas.

The red-footed booby bird, now nicknamed Norman, is normally a resident of sunnier climes across the Caribbean but was rescued after he was found bedraggled on a pebble beach at St Leonards-on-Sea by passer-by Gail Cohen on September 4.

Norman boxed up and ready to be flown home Credit: RSPCA

He was very underweight and dehydrated when he was rescued by East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service who transferred him to RSPCA Mallydams Wood wildlife centre, in East Sussex, where he has been intensive care ever since.

Spending his days under a special heat lamp to keep him warm in the drizzly and cold British weather, Norman has been nursed back to health on a diet of sprats.

Now the RSPCA has joined forces with British Airways and IAG Cargo to make sure the young bird, the first recorded red-footed booby in the UK, makes his way back to a flock of fellow boobies almost 5,000 miles away in the Cayman Islands.

Norman has been nursed back to health on a diet of sprats Credit: RSPCA

He is the first booby bird we have ever seen here at the RSPCA and the UK. It is amazing to think we’ve had a hand in his care.”

"Norman has done so well - especially when you consider how weak and dehydrated he was when he came in. We have been keeping a close eye on him along the way and keeping him warm with heat lamps.

“We have done everything possible looking after him to build his weight up and keep his strength up to prepare him for his long journey home.”

– Richard Thomson, RSPCA
Norman when he was first found Credit: WRAS

Norman was taken to London Heathrow Airport yesterday and jetted off on a 12-hour flight to his new home at a nature reserve in the Cayman Islands.

Following his epic journey home, Norman is now due to spend 30-days in quarantine before he is released to join other booby birds and start his new life at the reserve.