Wednesday, June 6, 2012

General update: 6/6/12

Things are picking up for the Humans at the RMRP.  More birds are coming in daily, and cages are steadily filling up.

The RMRP has admitted 55 birds so far this year, 23 of whom are currently in house.  Five of those birds came in this past week: an immature Screech Owl, two immature American Kestrels, an adult American Kestrel, and a Great Horned Owl.
Kestrel family
Of those birds, only the adult Kestrel is not still with us.  She came in covered in food-grade oil, and then was picked up by a dog.  How she encountered a vat of cooking oil in a person's back yard is unknown, but it does create a public service announcement opportunity: if you have old oil laying around (from deep frying or changing the oil in your car), please don't leave it uncovered.  Animals like me think it's water and we try to drink it (we're not very smart), and the results aren't pretty.  This particular Kestrel, aside from being coated head to toe in oil and unable to fly, had aspirated and ingested  a lot of oil.  There was no saving her.

The Great Horned Owl that came in is this one here:

She's an interesting case.  She was found on the ground and very emaciated, which means she'd been on the ground for a long time.  Even though it's dangerous on the ground, and hunting opportunities are scarce, somehow downed raptors manage to plug along for many days, getting skinnier and more dehydrated.  The really lucky birds (like this girl) are found by a wandering and caring Human, and brought into the center.  The Humans don't actually know if she's a girl, but she has enormous feet, and even horribly emaciated she's tipping the scale at 900 grams. When she fattens up she'll be a beast.  In the meantime, the Humans are trying to get her weight and hydration up, and are treating a nasty, deep hole/wound near her mouth.  The wound was full of maggots (ew), and the bird is receiving treatment for those.  Miraculously, whatever it is that gouged a hole out of her face missed her big, beautiful eyes. Feathers crossed that she'll be okay soon!

As for the old-news birds, I am happy to announce that one of the Bald Eagles has gone home.  The baby eagle that fell from his nest last week was returned over the weekend by a crew of professional tree climbers, wildlife biologists and RMRP Humans.  The [rather large and angry] Bald Eagle chick that didn't fall out of the nest was there to greet the tree climber, but everyone escaped unscathed, and the kid is back with his parents, just how it should be.  So, that means we're back down to an entirely reasonable and manageable FOUR Bald Eagles (by the way, that was sarcasm).  One of those will hopefully be kicked out this week as he is zooming around the cage at top speed, aching to hit the skies again.

The adult from Wyoming that was admitted back in January, the one with leg problems and subsequent confidence issues, had hit a plateau about a month ago, and the Humans were beginning to look for placement for her as a display bird at other facilities. However, this last week she started showing a renewed interest in walking/jumping/flying/perching!  So they're going to give her even more time and more space and more perches, and see what happens.  As the Humans say, "her prognosis is guarded".  Still, feathers crossed...

The Swainson's Hawk that encountered a methane burner and scorched off his beak, talons and feathers last year is finally molting feathers.  See how messed up they are?  Even the body feathers were torched:

The tweaked-out conspiracy theorist Cooper's Hawk was released a few days ago!  Thank goodness for that--it's much calmer in the cages now.  He flew out of his carrier so fast it was hard to tell there had been a Cooper's Hawk in the box to begin with.

The education birds have been making the Humans work hard recently, too, but egg laying season is close to an end.  The female Swainson's Hawk, the ancient 21 y/o matron of us all, managed to squeeze out another egg this year, but she grew bored of sitting on it pretty quickly.  Now that her egg is gone she's feeling much better, and she's back to being in everyone's business:

One of the female American Kestrels popped out FIVE eggs this year, and even though she doesn't care enough to sit on the eggs (her original injury was head trauma, so don't judge her too harshly), the instinct to protect her nest is very much present--she makes a point to fly, posture and leap at anyone who enters her cage.
Fluffy is not cute, fluffy is angry (eggs are in the house on the ground)
Well, that's it for the weekly bird update!  Upcoming articles: Identifying Raptors at Your Bird Feeder, and Why Bald Eagles Are Awesome!  Thanks for reading!  And don't forget, you can get notifications of new posts sent right to your inbox if you subscribe (look for the box in the right sidebar).

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