Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ten releases and counting!

Just a quick entry to let you know that a lot of my short-term neighbors (ie birds in rehabilitation) have been released this week!

Remember the tiny, fluffy baby American Kestrel admitted a couple months ago?  She grew up strong and healthy, and was released on Sunday to a chunk of beautiful land up north.

The second-year Peregrine Falcon admitted a few months ago with high voltage trauma (HVT) from a powerline incident was a bit of a longshot:  HVT cases are difficult to heal, and her wounds had left her patagial tendon exposed on one wing.  The patagial tendon is critical to flight.  The wound took nearly two months of patient treatment by the Humans to heal, and then she had to regain her stamina in one of the large flight cages.  But soon enough she was flying like a champ, and was successfully released north of La Porte a few days ago!  The Human that released her said that when she flew off, she didn't just go find a perch to land on and take a rest, she kept flying, and flying, and flying...

Four immature Great Horned Owls were released last night.  They passed "rat school" a couple weeks ago, and have been perfecting feather condition since then.  The way the Humans here release Great Horned Owls is called a "soft release" through an apparatus called a "hack box".  Essentially, the birds were fed for a few days from a platform in the cage, so they became accustomed to getting their food there.  Then, last night the door from the feeding platform to the outside world was left open, and the Owls all flew off on their own into the night.  But since they're young birds with no real-world experience, and it's a drought year, it could be difficult for the birds to make ends meet, so the Humans will continue putting food on the platform for the next few weeks just in case they need to come back for a snack.  When they stop coming back for food, we know they're off being wild!

Great Horned Owl flying in a cage

Common Barn Owl experiencing those awkward teenage years
Two Common Barn Owls were released a couple of evenings ago, and flew silently over open fields, until they were out of sight.

And, finally, another American Kestrel and a mature Swainson's Hawk are both being released as I type this!  That's ten birds so far this week, and more are due to be sent on their way soon!  While all these releases are great news, I keep watching the main building and seeing how many newly injured birds are being admitted--there are a lot.  Things are not slowing down here at all.  West Nile Virus is really rearing it's head, and the Humans have received results from blood tests for over a dozen birds confirming WNV, and there are many, many others with WNV symptoms who are awaiting blood test confirmation.  So, as always, the work never ends!  But if you are as excited as I am about the ten releases listed above, please support us by clicking on the "donate now" link on the right sidebar!

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