And I’m not talking about fireworks on the Fourth, either! From July 1-3 LWR received 12 new birds, then there was a slight lull, and yesterday one more came in.
Lordy, where to begin? The brown thrasher, cowbird and one mocker are now in the flight pen (the second mocker didn’t make it), along with a blue jay who came in just days before he would have fledged.
The barn swallows look like crap because their new game is slinging food all over each other and their carrier; see below for pre- and post-bath photos—not much improvement. They’re happy little birds, even if they do remind me of Pigpen in Charlie Brown! They’re also beginning to test their wings, so the flight pen is in their near future.
This adult brown thrasher came in with a major case of dehydration and a severely bruised wing; I also suspect we had a pretty serious concussion going on, as it took three days for the poor bird to begin perching and eating on his own. He’s doing much better now, although he still favors that wing, as you can see in the photos.
The severe heat wave that ended June took its toll on wildlife; this screech owl was found standing in the shallow end of a pool, probably trying to cool off. Because we were worried about possible chlorine ingestion, I’ve had him for observation for a few days. He was lucky—no health issues from his exposure to the pool chemicals, and quite a healthy appetite. He’ll be sent back tomorrow to be released near where he was found. Below you can see him attempting to disappear, the apparent theory being that if his eyes are closed, I can’t see him!
"You can't seeeee meeeee!"
LWR received yet another cowbird, this one the youngest this year. Quite a difference in just a week, huh?
These house finches came in just days before fledging, after one of their parents was found dead and the other seemed to’ve disappeared. House finches are generally good-natured little birds with sweet voices, and these babies are no exception. They’re almost ready for the flight pen, too.
Wood ducklings are, as you no doubt remember from previous posts, very stressy, fragile little birds. These three tiny babies, probably no more than 3-4 days old, were found alone in a suburban yard. They were subsequently fed bread and milk (all together now: “Birds don’t have boobs; they cannot digest milk.”) and medicated starter feed, which is deadly to wood ducks. I was hopeful we’d dodged the proverbial bullet, as they seemed very alert, ate well and were preening after I got them, but none of them made it through the night. Of all the waterfowl I work with, I think wood ducks are my favorite, so I was really bummed about losing these babies.
Short swims in shallow water are essential to wood ducklings' health.
This pre-fledgling red bellied woodpecker, however, was luckier. He was unnested in a storm, found at the base of a tree just before dark, and gotten to me the next morning. Red bellies are such pretty birds! Their name comes from a blush streak that runs down their bellies. This young fellow is also almost ready for the flight pen.
It’s the time of year we start seeing young Mississippi kites coming in, and sure enough, yesterday this baby was found beside the road, his sibling dead in the road. M. kites are small raptors whose diet actually consists for the most part of insects that they catch and eat in mid-air. If you’ve never seen this, you’ve missed a treat: they snag the insect with a foot and then bring the foot up to their beak to eat in flight. The adults have slate gray bodies, light gray heads and striking red eyes. They’re gorgeous, amazing birds; I have a great fondness for them.
And finally, the hummer is perching on the feeder as of today, but not drinking from it yet. Below are a few more neat shots of the imperious, stubborn, thoroughly delightful little snot.