Hope 2009 is starting out well for everyone! ‘08 ended with a bit of a bang for Laurens Wildlife Rescue, with the last intake of the year arriving on New Year’s Eve.
An adult male pileated woodpecker with a wing injury was found near the Wheeler County Health Department on Dec. 31, and workers there called me. Since Smalley’s had closed early for New Year’s Eve and would, of course, be closed New Year’s Day, I made plans to make the bird as comfortable as possible until Jan. 2 unless he had an open fracture or other life-threatening injuries, in which case, Dublin-Laurens Humane Society manager Irene Sumner had agreed to euthanize him.
As luck would have it, the wing wasn’t obviously broken. I suspected a fracture near the shoulder but without an X-ray to confirm, I was unwilling to euthanize. Given the extent of the bruising around that shoulder, he may have just suffered severe muscle trauma. Irene and I discussed the situation, and I talked with raptor rehabber Steve Hicks, who’s seen similar injuries in his larger birds, and we all agreed that as long as the bird was alert and didn’t appear to be suffering, I should err on the side of caution and wait for X-rays.
I took Harvey Wallbanger (oh, come on–you didn’t think I’d call him Woody, did you? That’s too easy!) to Smalley’s this morning, and Peggy Hobby X-rayed his wing, confirming that it was, in fact, broken. The good news is that the break was clean and not near enough a joint to be fatal. Peggy wrapped the wing, and Harvey is sitting in his box quietly at the moment. No photos of him post-wrapping yet; he needs time to de-stress first.
He’ll be with me for a couple of weeks, at least, while the wing heals, and probably a bit longer, as he’ll have to build his flight muscles back up after such prolonged inactivity. Harvey’s a gorgeous but ill-tempered guest, but then, I’ve yet to see a woodpecker who had a pleasant personality. Stop and think about it, though: if you spent your entire life banging your head against a tree, wouldn’t you be ill-tempered?
Anyway, to the promised year-end wrap-up: LWR received 139 animals in 2008, fielded 57 calls that did not result in receipt of an animal (these were mostly wildlife advice calls), and replied to six e-mails seeking wildlife advice, one from Hawaii.
The breakdown on the animals received runs thusly:
died in care: 23
Only died-in-cares and releases figure into the formula for determining the release rate, so LWR had a whopping 75% release rate in 2008–here’s hoping ‘09 is just as good a year!