Let’s start this update by recognizing a woman who went beyond the call of duty to reunite an unnested mocker with its mother. I don’t remember Kimberly’s last name, but she called me late one afternoon and explained that her children had found a mocker nestling on the ground in their back yard. She didn’t have access to a vehicle until the next day, as her husband was out of town with their truck, and she wanted to know what to do to keep the baby going until she could get it to me. I asked if she knew where the nest was, and as luck would have it, she did. I explained that she could try to re-nest the bird first, and in case that failed, I walked her through what she needed to do until she could get the bird to me. The next morning, I didn’t hear from Kimberly, so I figured she’d either re-nested the baby or it hadn’t made it through the night. Late that afternoon, she called, laughing, to tell me that her husband had backed their truck up to the tree and the children steadied an extension ladder in the truck bed while she climbed up to put the baby mocker back with its siblings in the nest. One of the other sibs jumped out in the process, and she made sure it was re-nested, as well. Kudos to Kimberly for a job well done—it’s always better if the parents can raise their own young, if at all possible, and she went the extra mile to make sure this happened!
Now for my hall of shame entry: the same week that Kimberly went over and above to reunite an avian family, another lady who didn’t even bother to give her name called. She had taken a baby bird from her cat the night before. She didn’t want it in her house, so she put it in the car for the night. At noon, when she called me, on her way to work, the bird had not been fed and she’d left it at home. She wouldn’t get off until 9 pm. I bit my tongue really hard—can’t be rude to the public, no matter how desperately you want to tell them how many flavors of idiot they are—and explained to her that the bird would be dead or dying by the time she got off work that night. Her response? “Oh. Well, I just couldn’t let the cat kill it.” Really? So “saving” it from a quick death at the cat’s paws only to allow it to starve to death slowly was okay in her twisted logic?? Someone explain that one to me, please…
Just days after having to euthanize the wood duckling with the neck deformity, another even younger wood duckling came in. Nature abhors a vacuum!
This little one is growing by leaps and bounds; I swear I think he doubled in size over the weekend.
The “trash” you see floating in the water is actually tiny worms that he likes to nibble on while swimming. Okay, nibble is too dainty a word. He inhales the things like a little downy vacuum cleaner!
The flight pen blue jays from the last update have been released but are still coming down for supplemental feedings. Blue jays are such shameless little beggars. Today one came screaming down for his handout…with a very fat, juicy grasshopper in his beak!
And this little blue jay came in as the youngest I’ve seen in a while. I’d almost forgotten how awkward they look when their feathers are coming in, bless his sweet little heart! He’s now in the flight pen, as well.
This nestling red bellied woodpecker looks like she’s bruised and battered, but what you’re seeing is her bare skin and the muscles that allow her to use that tail for balance when clinging to a tree. The tree her nest was in was downed in a storm and her sibling was killed.
This is her five days after intake…
…and here she is just yesterday, in the flight pen. Woodpeckers as a rule are just cantankerous, ornery birds, but I always take into account that I’d probably be the same way if my first clear thought was the realization that I’d spend the rest of my life banging my head against a tree!
These little rabbits came in covered with fire ant bites. They were quite literally scabs covered with fur. I’ve never seen so many ant bites on live animals before, and I didn’t expect them to make it, but I started antibiotics anyway. Rabbits are such stressy critters—only 10% survive their first year in the wild, and that’s actually considered an acceptable release rate for rehabbers, as well. Some rehabbers won’t even take in rabbits because of their propensity to stress out and die. These little ones were lucky; the antibiotics worked and they were released early this morning.
This juvenile red shouldered hawk came in last week. He was unnested by a severe storm in a neighboring county.
While he’s small even for a red shoulder, in his little mind he thinks he’s a ferocious giant, as evidenced by this pose. I will say that he knows how to draw blood with that beak when his feet and body are restrained for feeding. I’m not having to force feed, just to hand feed. This consists of quickly cramming the food in his beak while he’s very loudly cussing me out. To give you an idea of what that’s like, turn your radio or television up to speaker-rattling volume and stand right in front of it. Something operatic, very soprano, would be best. Now take the smelliest, slimiest food you can find and toss it on yourself while simultaneously pricking your fingers repeatedly with a sharp knife. There you have it: that’s a quieter and cleaner version of feeding a resistant red shoulder!
And finally, this nestling mocker came in this morning. He was still a bit confused by the change of venue when I snapped this photo, but by his bedtime he was back in rare form…typical mocker; very little fazes them for long!
Don’t forget that today was the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Beginning tomorrow, the days will start to get shorter by just minutes a day until fall arrives with its blessedly cooler temperatures.