Thursday, September 23, 2010

August in Rehab

August has been a busy month in our wildlife hospital.

We have been working hard to save as many birds as possible.  We started the  month with three Great-horned Owls and two Red-tailed Hawks that were emaciated and starving.  They were most likely recent hatches that were finally having to hunt on their own and were no longer getting supplementary food from their parents.
 Emaciated Red-tailed Hawk admitted to rehab in August

Raptor parents do not teach their offspring how to hunt – hunting is an instinctual behavior triggered by the movement of prey near the raptor and hunger.  We keep them for a week or two to fatten them up and provide them with an 'energy buffer' so that they have some time to figure out the hunting thing once they have been released. 

We also received three Cooper's Hawks – all of which had flown into windows.  Two weren't that badly injured and could be released after a little rest and recuperation from concussion.  The third bird was more seriously injured and seemed to have a bruised spine or a broken pelvis.  Birds with injuries like this are slow to recover.  They need to be hand fed for a number of weeks and receive very intensive care as they slowly recover.  It is very rewarding to have a hawk that could not stand or eat start to eat on its own and fight back when we handle them for medicating or physical therapy.
 A Red-shouldered Hawk is released back to the Wild.
As always, we do everything we can to get each patient admitted to the hospital back out into the wild.  Sometimes everything we can do is not enough, and they do not survive.   But many do survive, and nothing beats the feeling we get when we watch one of our patients return to the wild,  flying strong.

Submitted by Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager, World Bird Sanctuary.

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