We received this beautiful albino fledgling recently and are awaiting official word from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as to what species this little love is—I have no clue, lacking feather colors/patterns to guide me! Meanwhile, we’ve decided to make guessing her (arbitrary gender assignment) species a fund-raiser of sorts. Anyone who’d like to take a guess as to her species may do so by clicking on one of the PayPal donation buttons on every page of this website except this one. For a donation of at least $10 (larger amounts are gladly accepted!), you can enter your guess as to species in the “comments/instructions” field of the PayPal payment page. (Those of you who regularly donate to LWR may e-mail me directly to enter your guess.) The winner—which may be the person who comes closest to correct species—will receive an 8x10 print, suitable for framing, of the mystery bird. Donations & guesses are due no later than Saturday, July 10, and the winner will be announced in the next LWR update, scheduled for July 15.
Now, on to our (ir)regularly scheduled update: June turned out to be less than a lull month, with more intakes than any previous June since I’ve been keeping track of such minutiae. So much for a break, huh?
Here’s a photo of the two remaining possums. Doesn’t it look like they have a hard life, though?! Possums are such easy-to-please little things: give ‘em food, water and a bed, and they’re perfectly happy. These babies have another couple of months before they’re good to go.
The flight pen is currently empty, as all four blue jays, three mockers and the robin have all been released, along with several others that came in after the last update. The jays, shameless beggars that they are, still dive-bomb me for food; the robin shows up every now and then, as does the much-earlier-released bluebird and a couple of the wrens.
I do have another blue jay awaiting his turn in the flight pen; he’s still not quite ready for that yet. Isn’t he cute, though, in this shot of him napping? I love the way birds sleep!
I also had a severely imprinted barred owl come in recently. I knew she was imprinted the moment I stuck my gloved hand into her box and she calmly stepped onto the glove. Then she took meat from the forceps and later from my bare fingers (don’t try that at home, boys and girls; I did it to further prove the level of her imprinting). She also walked off the glove and up my arm to my shoulder, where she sat quite contentedly, without digging in her talons. I wasn’t real thrilled about that and we’ve managed to avoid a repeat, as she could still have done serious damage with her talons if something had startled her. Needless to say, she won't be releasable and will have to be an educational bird.
In the “didn’t make it to release” category, we have this sweet barn swallow who came in after hitting a window. She seemed to be fine and was acting as if she might be releasable when she quite literally keeled over in a matter of minutes. Swallows and swifts are difficult birds to rehab, especially the adults.
Another casualty was this nestling chimney swift, who again seemed to be doing well and died shortly before sunrise on his eighth day in rehab. Chimney swifts have really weird digestive tracts, requiring saliva from their parents to give them the proper intestinal bacteria. My guess is this fellow didn’t get enough of that bacteria before he was orphaned.
This crow came in with a massively deformed foot, the result of a nest injury that had healed improperly. Had the bird fallen from the nest when the injury was fresh, it probably could have been repaired; as it is, he fledged with a nasty deformity that prevented him from perching—the leg had broken at the joint and the broken lower portion had fused itself to the back of the leg. Imagine pulling your foot up to your butt. Now imagine it’s fused there. That’s pretty close to what his leg looked like. Needless to say, he was euthanized once it was obvious that he’d never be able to perch.
This mocker will also need euthanasia, sadly. Both her feet are deformed to the point that she can’t perch. I knew when she came in she had foot problems, and I tried to correct them, but it’s not happening. She’ll never be able to perch, and that’s a necessity for the release of any bird.
The jury’s still out on this juvenile white ibis. Yes, I’m aware he’s brown; juvenile white ibises are brown! His finders saw him hit a power line in flight and crash, and they stopped to rescue him. While his legs aren’t broken, I suspect a busted hip. His arrival over the holiday weekend has delayed his trip to the vet for confirmation of my suspicions, though.
And to close on a happy note, Chester, the downy screech owl who came in with the open leg fracture has his splint off and is doing great! Way to go, Dr. Shelley Baumann of Smalley’s Animal Hospital!!!
Below are photos of his x-rays:
Initial x-ray—see the break just above the joint?
Three days later, to make sure leg was aligned properly
A week later
Two weeks later
Last week, when the splint came off, after a month
The last photo of Chester with his splint!
Here, he fights as Shelley removes his splint…
…and shows his gratitude for all her hard work!
And here we have the little Napoleon wannabe perching and showing just what a big, bad bird he is (in his mind)!