I have birds in the flight pen that need to be released, but the rain won’t stop. I have birds in the house that need to be in the flight pen, but the rain won’t stop. My flight pen is a sodden mess, and the rain won’t stop…And I’m trying really hard not to complain about the rain—even after the branch across the road from my house briefly overflowed its banks and streamed across the road into my yard, which is already a swamp since THE RAIN WON’T STOP—because after several too-dry summers, Georgia needed the rain to replenish the ground water levels.
Adding to that, the bread-fed mocker from last week didn’t make it, one of last week’s Carolina wrens died, the “snowshoe” blue jay’s feet don’t seem to be straightening out and he doesn’t appear to be able to fly, and Igor the crow’s right wing was perfectly fine at lights-out last night and is drooping badly today, although I can’t find a break or any reason for the droop.
*sigh* On to this week’s mayhem…
This barred owl’s wing isn’t fractured too badly and he’s eating well, so he should be an excellent candidate for release in a few months.
When a caller said he had an injured hawk and there was blood, my first thought was an open wing or leg fracture. I met the finder and when he opened his truck door to reveal a largish first-year female red tail sitting unrestrained in the passenger-side floorboard, my immediate reaction was to open my mouth to lecture him on safe transport. That is, until I saw the nature of her injury and was stunned into silence.
She had apparently been hit by a car and her crop was ruptured. I honestly couldn’t tell what bloody bits were food falling from what had been a full crop and what was the crop itself. I could actually see the vertebrae in her neck in the gaping hole in her throat. Her right foot was balling, and her poop was black and tarry. Basically, this gorgeous lady was done for.
I called Smalley’s Animal Hospital to alert them that I was on my way with an emergency euthanasia. Vets Peggy Hobby and Richie Hatcher both cringed when they saw this otherwise gorgeous and fairly well-fleshed bird’s mangled crop. There was nothing we could do but end her suffering.
Welcome to the world of wildlife rehab. I wish it was all cute and cuddly and fun like people seem to think it is. The sad reality is that this week is more typical than any rehabber would like to admit…and weeks like this overshadow the ones where we have savable wildlife or successful releases. I can promise you, when we finally drop into bed, dead-tired, and still can’t sleep, it’s the weeks like this that replay over and over in our minds…That’s why when people ask me why I rehab, my immediate response is one word: insanity.