But it didn’t last. That afternoon, within 10 minutes of each other, two calls came in. One caller had a baby squirrel or a chipmunk; she wasn’t sure which, but it was injured. While LWR’s focus is primarily birds and flying squirrels, since I had neither at the moment, I agreed to meet the caller and see what could be done. On the way to meet her, the second call came in; this caller had a “baby” owl that he’d found in the middle of the road. Wrong time of year for baby owls, so of course he had to have a screech. I told him I’d meet him as soon as I got the squirrel or chipmunk in hand and could see what actions it required.
What Caller 1 actually had was an adult chipmunk. They’re tiny little things, even as adults. His left back leg was bloody and raw, a fresh wound, so I quickly treated him and got him settled in a proper cage before meeting Caller 2.
Richie said the slightly misshapen pupil in the screech’s right eye was likely from tissue “hanging” on the inside and, we hoped, wouldn’t impair his vision in that eye. The left eye was still swollen shut but when we gently pried it open the pupil, although massively dilated, didn’t appear misshapen in any way. After Richie gave the screech a steroid injection to bring down any residual swelling, standard for head traumas, we agreed on non-steroidal eye drops for the left eye.
The screech was extremely calm throughout the entire exam and remains unnaturally docile, indicating some serious brain trauma. It can often take weeks for this sort of injury to heal properly, and sometimes it just doesn’t. In addition, his left eye remains closed, so we may be looking at impaired vision in that eye. We won’t know for sure for some time. Meanwhile, he’s safe, warm and well-fed while he recovers.
When the driver finally did find someone to remove the screech and get him to LWR, the intake exam showed a broken wing and leg, both on the left side. X-rays at Smalley’s the next morning showed fractures that couldn’t be mended. The wing fracture actually appeared to be an open fracture, although neither vet Peggy Hobby nor I could find the exposed bone. Peggy and Richie, sharing my love of screeches, extensively debated possible ways to fix the little fellow, reaching the conclusion that there was really nothing that could be done except end his suffering.