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Tropical Bird Flies The Coop

A seabird accustomed to warm Hawaiian breezes was being treated for hypothermia and other cold-related ailments in Anchorage after it followed an Alaska-bound yacht across the Pacific Ocean.

The bird, a red-footed booby, was basking under a heat lamp at Anchorage's Bird Treatment and Learning Center after its accidental journey north. It eventually will be returned to Hawaii.

The bird began trailing the yacht as it left Hawaii last week and was brought on board after being battered by a fierce storm that struck during the eight-day trip. When the yacht docked in Kodiak, Alaska, the captain contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which flew the then-severely-hypothermic booby to Anchorage.

Boobies are notorious for following ships, said rehabilitation director Barbara Doak. However, in her 10 years at the center she had never seen a warm-weather bird travel so far to Alaska. "This one was a young one," she said, "and I guess he didn't ask the captain where he was going."

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