The poor little flyer I ranted about last month began having seizures again, one after another, and I ended up having to euthanize him. This is what happens when unlicensed individuals with no training decide they can attempt to rehab an animal. The poor fellow lost his life because of someone else’s stupidity and arrogance.
The cat-attacked robin, however, had a nice set of tail feathers grow back in. As soon as they were long enough to give him an in-flight rudder, I released him. He was quite a happy camper!
The screech with the broken wing will not be releasable; he will also become an ed bird. Fortunately, he also has a fairly good personality…for a screech…
The next morning, I met the caller and companions halfway and sure enough, when they uncovered the owl, it was a good-sized female screech. I explained that this was an adult bird and asked what the larger owl looked like. The people, however, were still fixated on the screech—were screeches extinct? Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue to keep the smart-arse replies from popping out…I explained that if they were extinct, they wouldn’t have a living, breathing specimen in the cage and asked again what the larger owl looked like. “I dunno—an owl. We thought it was a duck at first.”
Duck…owl…I’m not seeing the resemblance there. I pull out my cell phone and show them a photo of a barred owl. “That’s it! Looks just like a duck!”
Seriously, folks, I can’t make up stuff this good!
ANYway, the “extinct, duck-chased” screech stayed with me for a few days for observation, as the callers shouldn’t have been able to capture the bird had there not been some sort of issue. All I could figure was shock and exhaustion, as she ate well for me and was alert and aggressive.
In the meantime, I called the other rehabber to apprise her of the situation and double-check their tale. Turns out they’d called her 24 hours before they’d gotten in touch with me, asking how to raise the flyers. She told them it was against state law, that she couldn’t take them, and referred them to me. When I met the people and picked up the flyers, I mentioned that I knew they’d had the babies for 48 hours, and they swore this was not true. Whatever…I asked what they’d been feeding aside from sugar water. They’d “looked online” and “saw to give them nuts”, but all they had was applesauce.
So…for 48 hours, these young, growing flyers had the equivalent of an all-candy diet. Folks, the Internet is NOT the source for information on feeding wildlife. There’s all sorts of crap out there that will kill or seriously debilitate a wild animal if you follow the instructions you find online! Applesauce and nuts are CANDY for squirrels, not real, nutritious food. Would you feed your child nothing but candy??
The broad wing, a female based on weight and foot size, has a right-wing injury; X-rays showed no breaks or dislocations, so we’re operating on the assumption that she has one of two issues: soft tissue injury or a fractured scapula, which doesn’t always show in an x-ray. The treatment for both is basically the same: time and meds. She’s also very thin so I’m treating for capillaria, as well. Keep your fingers crossed for this lady as we continue to monitor her situation.
I’ll have all the 2011 stats done by the next update, for those of you who like looking at numbers.