In the worrisome call, the caller had noticed an injured hawk by the roadside a couple of counties away. She was initially willing to bring the bird to me but needed help to capture it. That help apparently came in the form of someone associated with her local vet clinic, who then “volunteered” to take the bird to a vet even farther north—a person NOT on the state list and with no rehabbers in that county. I questioned this, remembered there is a vet near the area who prefers not to be listed but who’s licensed for mammals and will triage and transfer birds, and figured the hawk would either come back to me or go to the rehabber closest to that vet. We have no idea where the bird ended up, as no one with proper permits ever saw it.
Folks, PLEASE, when a rehabber asks you to get the bird to them or another licensed individual, don’t let someone who claims they “know a rehabber” or says they “take care of birds” or whatever their line is take the bird. If you MUST allow someone else to transport the bird to a rehabber, make sure you get the transporter’s name and number and the name and number of the rehabber they claim they’re taking the bird to—and follow up with that person to make sure they actually got the bird.
In the second case, the caller did all the right things. The owl literally fell on her boyfriend’s car the previous night, and early the next morning she called LWR from work. She’d properly confined the bird and was willing to bring him to me. Because the owl was in a safe, quiet place, I told her we could meet when she got off work. About half an hour before we were to meet, she called to inform me that when she’d gotten home from work, the owl was dead. Suspecting starvation, I asked her to feel his keel, or breastbone, and she confirmed that it was “sharp”, meaning the bird was in the process of dying from starvation when it fell on the car. Anything I could have done would have been too little, too late; he would have died no matter where he’d been. But the caller did everything “by the book” in terms of safely confining the owl and seeking help for him.
And our current solo patient, the red-phase screech, has approximately doubled her body weight—yes, HER. We initially thought she was male because she weighed so little but was fairly well-fleshed. At her checkup at Smalley’s Animal Hospital Friday, however, we decided that a 7-ounce (198g) screech was either a massively overweight male or, the more likely scenario, a female. With screeches you pretty much have to go by weight to determine gender unless you have a male and female together to see the size difference.