There was good news to begin this past week, though, with the red-headed woodpecker finally opting for release—about time, too; I’d left the escape hatch open for most of two days before the rascal decided to leave! He’s still hanging around and getting handouts, of course, and will continue that for another couple of weeks.
The poor bird was such a little fighter that even after I got him home and was setting up the euthanasia chamber, he pulled himself upright in the transport box, head feathers flared, determined to fight again if need be. I stopped just long enough to snap a photo of his defiance in the face of death, then quickly and humanely ended his suffering.
The screeches are back in the raptor flight and are quite content there now. They’re eating well and building up flight muscles and stamina, so as soon as they prove they can capture live prey, they’re good to go. The female does worry me a bit, as she seems to be constantly trying to focus her vision, but she flies well and accurately and she has no trouble locating her food, so I’m probably just being paranoid.