Wednesday, June 27, 2012

General Update: 6/27/12


First of all, congrats to the little cat-caught Eastern Screech Owl! He passes mouse school with flying colors (flying fur?) and was released yesterday!

And in other big news, the Humans have officially caught up to and surpassed last year's admissions for this time of year.  They have admitted 93 birds for the year, and it seems like half of those came in just these last few weeks!
Young female American Kestrels
The Humans are up to their ears in baby American Kestrels.  Every day they admit new ones, move the last arrivals out to the rehab cages, move the rehab-cage birds to the large flight cages, and start the large-flight birds on live prey testing.  Whew!  There are dozens of the little falcons to keep track of, all with different colored leg bands on to help ID them.  Thank goodness American Kestrels are sexually dimorphic (males have blue backs, females are all brown), or there wouldn't be enough color combinations on leg bands to give them all a unique identifier! 

Young male American Kestrels
Other recent arrivals include a young Red-Tailed Hawk, a hit-by-car (HBC) Swainson's Hawk, and a high voltage trauma (HVT) Peregrine Falcon.  The Peregrine's injury is old, so he probably won't die from the injuries, but it's unsure whether or not he'll be a releasable bird. Stay tuned: the Humans are trying their best.  He's young, just a second-year bird, and he's very handsome:

Peregrin falcon in a critical care cage
Here's a pic of the HBC Swainson's Hawk.  He's a striking bird, with very pale undersides and a very stark bib.  He's also a fighter (even being hit by a car on I-25 didn't break any bones!), and he's a good reminder that not all Swainson's Hawks are "young and dumb".

Swainson's Hawk in a rehabilitation cage
The Mississippi Kite the with fractured wing has had her bandage removed and is trying it out in a larger cage this week.  So far she's holding it straight and using it well, so feathers crossed that it's perfectly healed!  The RMRP rarely admits adult Mississippi Kites, and usually they're broken beyond repair.  It would be a wonderful thing to give a second chance at freedom to this amazing bird.

Mississippi Kite, holding wings well
Perhaps the best news of all is about the two remaining Bald Eagles.  One was a power line victim, and she had a tough time healing the wound the shock left on her wing.  But the Humans were very determined and creative with her medical care, and the wound is now completely healed.  Soon it will be time for flight training!

And the other Bald Eagle is the one who came in at the end of 2011 scarcely able to walk or stand on her own.  It took weeks to get her to move around flat ground, then weeks to get her to perch on low perches.  It seemed like she was making good progress--slow but steady--when she hit a plateau.  For a few months she made no improvements.  The Humans were almost certain she would never be released, but decided to give her a little more time.  Well, whatever needed to click finally did so a few weeks ago, and all of the sudden she's flying and landing and moving around a double-length flight cage with ease!  Every day a Human goes into her cage to encourage her to fly laps so she'll build up strength, stamina and agility.  She's still a little tentative with her feet, so she's not 100% done with rehabilitation yet, but the progress she's made recently is an inspiration to us all.  Here's a photo montage from today, showing her spread her wings and launch from a high perch in her cage:

Here's hoping she continues making progress and gets out of here soon!  Not only do we want her to fly free again, but she eats a lot of food.

Stay tuned for another update: the RMRP has been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails about the High Park Fire and its effect on the RMRP, and I'll be writing about that soon.  But until next time, wish us luck in rehabilitating and releasing my awesome feathered brethren! 

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