However, hot on their heels came another nest of swifts, these kept for two weeks by a family reluctant to surrender them, even though they knew their possession of the birds was illegal. Apparently part of the reluctance was my insistence that they meet me at one of the “safe” areas around the county where I pick up birds, rather than allowing them to come to my house.
Let me address that issue first: folks, LWR is a home-based rehab center. That means that the rehabs and I share a roof. I don’t want strangers in and out of my house; I don’t want strangers knowing where I live; I don’t run a petting zoo where you deliver a critter or critters and get to “play” with everything else. Yes, it would be more convenient—and cheaper for me—to have birds delivered right to my doorstep, but I live in an isolated rural area, and I prefer to be safe rather than sorry, for my sake and that of the critters.
Now to the issue of this nest of swifts…the family actually did a fairly decent job, aside from aspirating one of the babies, who died shortly after they were delivered to my care. It was actually his declining condition that finally precipitated them turning the birds over to me—not the fact that they were in violation of state and federal law.
This lot is doing quite well and exercising their wings like mad; one of the little rascals is even spending most of his time clinging to the walls of the reptarium rather than huddled with his sibs, and another of the sibs has joined him once or twice.
In the video below, I was about to change their poop-paper when the three still in the “nest” suddenly had a burst of wing-ercizing. Needless to say, the paper change waited until they were done!
Thus far—and it’s been nearly a week—they still cannot actually fly; it’s more a drunken aerial struggle before crashing. The dietary deficiencies they suffered during those two (or more—who knows?) months may have screwed them up to the point that we still end up euthanizing. Only time will tell and we’re trying to give them that time to see if proper diet and room to move can compensate for the damage done.