Our habituated turkey vulture, after a week of what can loosely be termed confinement (I say loosely because the smart not-so-little snot quickly figured out he could tear out of his box and proceeded to do so…daily…sometimes twice daily…), decided he really didn’t like humans that much after all, and hesitated not a bit when offered the chance to leave the LWR B&B.
At any rate, the heron was happy to see freedom, too. Just once I’d like to release a heron or a loon or a coot and see it fly away—just once. But they always either swim or walk away—in the case of herons, it’s always walking. Makes sense, if you stop and think about it: they are long-legged wading birds, after all. But I’d still like for just one to fly away at his release…
At any rate, the young woman whose grille this killdeer flew into was distraught when she hit him. She called me immediately, and I honestly expected to pick up a bird who’d need euthanizing due to a massively shattered wing, leg, or both. To my pleasant surprise, the killdeer had only a trashed eye and a bad headache. I mean, it’s still going to take some recovery time for him to adjust to flight and searching for food with one good eye, but it’s better than a leg or wing fracture.
Anyway, this guy’s got a while yet before release. He’s eating well and has learned to throw a tantrum to alert me when his mealworms run out, so he’s considerably less stressed than a young killdeer would be. Baby killdeer don’t fare well, as a rule, in rehab.
This young sharp-shinned hawk was found by the side of the road on a nasty, misty, damp day. When I met his rescuers, it was immediately apparent that there was nothing to be done for him but to euthanize. His left foot was trashed beyond any hope of repair, and he was so weak from starvation and blood loss that he didn’t even put up the usual accipiter struggle.
I have no idea what caused the injury. He could have been clipped by a side-view mirror on a vehicle. Given his emaciated state, he might have been desperate enough to try to catch a squirrel—hope outrunning reason, when the squirrel would be almost as big as the bird. Sharpies are actually pretty small raptors. He might even have been shot, although a detailed examination after he was euthanized led me to eliminate that as a truly viable possibility.
And believe it or not, we have three more flying squirrels, all males, approximately five to six weeks old! Their mother was killed when the tree their nest was in was felled for firewood. The people who found the babies got them to me within two hours of their mother’s death, so they didn’t get fed the wrong thing or get dehydrated—and they kept them under a heat lamp until they brought them to me, so they didn’t get chilled, either! Do you know how good that is for a rehabber’s blood pressure?!
So here ya go—more flyer cuteness with LWR’s official first babies (of any species) of the year!