A rare duck which was injured when it was blown off course and crash landed in a garden near Horsham has now fought its way back to health.
The bird - a common scoter or sea duck - was discovered in the garden of a house in Broadbridge Heath on November 27.
A worried caller rang the RSPCA who rescued the injured duck and took it to a wildlife centre in Hastings where it was given lots of tender loving care. Now it has recovered enough to be released into the wild where it is hoped it will team up with others of its species.
Wildlife rehabilitation manager Richard Thompson said: “The scoter had a small fracture on the top of the keel bone, which was probably caused when he crash landed.
“Fortunately this healed well, he showed great improvement and we felt he was ready to be released.
“He was taken to Pett Level Beach and it was wonderful to watch him fly off towards the sea. We had also been informed that the day before the release there were up to 450 scoters in Rye Bay so hopefully he would make his way straight to find them.”
The UK breeding population of sea ducks has declined and it is now a ‘Red List’ species.
It is also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The main threats to it are oil spills and habitat degradation.