Thursday, June 21, 2012

General update 6/21/12

Busy season is in full swing at the RMRP.  The Humans admitted 25 birds in the past two weeks, and most of them have come in clusters: five birds one day, none the next, etc.  The majority of the newcomers are American Kestrel chicks: there are currently 18 Kestrels at the center, and 14 of those are this year's young.  Some of the more interesting of the baby Kestrels include the nest of five chicks that arrived in the same box as a nest of baby Flickers--I don't know which family was more scared!  Both of their nests were accidentally knocked down by construction workers, who then boxed the kids up and brought them in.  The Flickers went to WildKind at the Larimer County Humane Society, and the Kestrels are doing well in our flight cages.  The other interesting Kestrel kid is one that was found fending off the advances of a curious Rottweiler.  The bird was on his back, feet lashing out, keeping the mighty beast at bay.

Aside from young American Kestrels, the only other kid admitted this past week was a cat-caught baby Screech Owl (the third Screech Owl brought home by this one cat!).  The unfortunate thing about cats and baby birds is that a bell on the collar doesn't do any good when the bird can't fly.  The chick is fine, but all cat-caught birds are treated with a round of antibiotics because raptor chicks are particularly susceptible to a bacteria in cat saliva.

As for the rest of the birds, the Mississippi Kite with the fractured and traumatized wing is due to get his bandage off at the end of the week: feathers crossed that it healed well enough for him to fly!  The Great Horned Owl with the deep puncture wound in her face is now maggot free and proud to be!  She'll be moving into a cage with the immature Great Horned Owls soon so she can be a role model for the kiddos and show them what to do with those furry things running around on the ground below them.

And, finally, there are the two remaining Bald Eagles.  One was a high-voltage trauma victim (read: shocked by a power line).  She was having issues with the exit wound on her wing, and was unable to heal over the exposed and necrotic bone.  But the vets at the CSU Vet Teaching Hospital were able to scrape away enough of the dead bone to allow new growth to start, and now only the tiniest remnant of the wound remains!  She'll be heading into a large flight cage to build up her stamina soon.

The last eagle is the one who came in unable to use her legs.  For a couple of months she made slow progress in regaining strength and agility, but then she plateaued for a long time...long enough that no one thought she would get any better.  Still, the Humans gave her a chance, and in the past couple weeks she's made huge progress, enough that the Humans are once again hopeful that she might be saved!  She's started flying around and making good landing, something she didn't have the confidence/ability to do for the past couple months.  Her prognosis is still guarded, but everyone is pulling for her!

So, all in all it's business as usual for the birds and Humans at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program.  The smoke has thinned out, booth and festival season is ramping up, and everyone is excited to be helping the birds!  As always, I'll be sure to keep you updated as these amazing animals are admitted, fixed up and released!  Oh, and I'm sorry about the lack of pictures in this update--I promise I'll post more soon!

*** Is there anything you would like to read about that I've not touched on?  Like West Nile Virus in raptors?  Or maybe raptor anatomy or diet?  Have questions about that strange bird in your back yard, or want to know why raptors can turn their heads so far around?  Want to know more about what some of the injuries really mean, like what "high voltage trauma" actually does to a bird?  I'm here for you, so let me know what you'd like to read!  Leave a comment below, or email me at! ***

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