THEY are not normally seen on land but the recent wild weather has played havoc with the routine of the sooty tern.
Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital has experienced a rare influx of the tropical oceans seabird.
The Wildlife Hospital manager, Libby Hall, said that seeing 14 of the birds had been unusual, but not unexpected.
''They've been blown in from Lord Howe Island on the strong winds from the big storm the other night. They've been found in areas such as Strathfield, Manly, Palm Beach, Watsons Bay and Dural. The birds' long wings and light bodies made them easy to be carried by the storm,'' Ms Hall said.
With adult weights ranging between 120 grams and 280g, the sooty tern's slender bodies aren't used to such rough conditions, especially in the rain.
''They're not waterproof seabirds, as they're used to tropical conditions and plucking fish from the water. They came in very weak and we'd like to get them out of the hospital and back into the wild as soon as possible.
''Hopefully two weeks will be long enough to see these little ones strong enough to return to a healthy weight, eat fish, and fly again. They're all resting right now, nestled together under a heat lamp - like any animal they need their rest, hydration, nutrition and warmth after this ordeal. I think they'll all be fine, though. A few we got in a couple of days ago are already getting better,'' Ms Hall said.
If a sooty tern is spotted, it's important to not feed them, but put them in a cardboard box with a towel in a quiet place away from pets, and take it straight to the Wildlife Hospital at Taronga Zoo, or call WIRES - the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service.