Sunday, January 21, 2007

Raptor Extremes!

We have one of the smallest and one of the largest raptors in residence at Wolf Hollow right now! Let's start with the wee one first. This little one came to us from Sedro Wooley.

It's a Saw-whet owl and this is how he looked the week he came in. They think he might have taken a glancing blow to the eye by a car, but we'll never know for sure. As you can see, his left eye is pretty messed up. It was swollen, protruding, and has a hyphema, which is a term used to describe the eye when there is bleeding between the cornea and iris. They did a fluorescein exam to look for any tears in the cornea and didn't find any. He was given antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds, as blood in the eye is a rich protein source for bacterial growth.

Despite all that, he's a feisty one and has a great appetite. He even got loose while his cage was being cleaned and cruised around the Quiet Room. I think, because he looks so tiny (Hell...he IS tiny at 6 inches tall!) one is scared to hold him too tightly. At least I was scared of that. But, if you don't hold him tight enough, he slithers through your hands and then flies around, making you look foolish in the process of trying to catch him. I finally figured out that if I just hold one of my hands in front of his good eye, he won't move since he can't see where he's going. Yep, you gotta be smarter than what you're working with folks, that's my motto!

They are keeping a close watch over how his eye is progressing and even though he is still getting drops put in it, we did move him to an outdoor aviary with more flying room and branches.

Look how cute and yet defiant he looks, all at the same time! Now on to our other extreme!

This Bald eagle is one of our local ones, found right here in Friday Harbor! When found, his right wing was drooping. Not feeling any breaks in the long bone, a vet was brought in to help x-ray him. And here it is!

It was determined that his right shoulder was a bit dislocated but not bad enough to warrant wrapping it. He had no fracture in his left "wrist" area, but might have tendon/ligament damage, as he did have a silver dollar sized piece of skin missing with the muscle exposed. This was an older injury, about a week old. He also has a stress fracture in his left tibiotarsus, but again, rest and time should take care of that, as he is standing on his leg without problems.

But, like most wild animals in a stressful captive situation, they can go off their feed, and he has for the last few days, even though we have tried various food items from rats to herring. If he doesn't start eating by today, we may have to start force feeding him, which won't be pleasant for any and all involved in that process.

Reading back through my blog, I can't believe I haven't even HINTED that we have a Great Horned owl in, as he has been with us for TWO MONTHS now!

Found in Mt. Vernon, he was thin and his left wing drooped at the shoulder. He was placed in a figure 8 body wrap to let the wing heal. I then got the job of taking it off!

It took a bit of maneuvering but I did get it off eventually! He was them placed in the Slatted Flight Cage for initial, post-wing wrap flying jaunts.

After awhile, we then placed him in the Heron cage for even more and longer flight jaunts, as we discovered he had very little flight muscle built up. While the Heron cage is bigger, it is also more exposed, so the birds put in there can get a bit more stressed.

As you can see, he freaked out when I walked in to check on him and is clinging to the side netting of the cage. Fortunately, as of this week he is good to go and will be released later this week!

Let's get to some updates. Unfortunately, our litte Red-breasted sapsucker didn't make it. The Varied thrush did so well it was released last week! As for our Cooper's hawks, allow me to clear up an error I made in a previous posting. After some discussion this past Saturday and some research in bird identification books, I have learned that the dark red eyes along with the horizontalish (it's a word!) red brown pattern on his chest means that not only is Kent a mature bird but he is actually...well...a SHE! And SHE has been moved to a larger outdoor aviary.

Unfortunately, this is mainly where you find her...on the ground. When I went in, she never tried to fly to get away from me. She just ran around a lot and seemed to be favoring her right wing. So we decided to capture her and do a quick examination.

We found that there is still swelling along the "armpit" muscle of her left wing where the injury was but didn't find anything else amiss. Hopefully just giving her some time will help.

Now, Bucky here is a juvenile male Cooper's hawk.

His coloring is more brown/grey than reddish and, more importantly, the spotting on his chest in more vertical that horizontal. That alone is a dead giveaway on his juvenile status. After his latest vet examination, we were given the green light to put him out into a VERY small outdoor mew.

Going from being inside a carrier to an outdoor mew can be very stressful for a bird and Cooper's haws are "stressy" enough in captivity, so, when I went in to feed him, he completely wigged out. I got in and out as quickly as possible, as I was seriously worried he was going to hurt himself with all his thrashing about, what with his leg still having pins and being in a splint. Hence the bad picture. Frankly, I am surprised it came out as well as it did, as I just aimed in his general direction as I was heading out the door.

The Great Blue heron is now in the Heron cage and doing well.

Now flying to the upper perches, he will hopefully be ready to be released shortly. Well, that's all she wrote for this week. Til next time...


Kari said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I don't meant to laugh, especially when he's hurt and all, but that Saw-Whet owls little teeny feet under that "big" fluffy body cracked me up!!!!!

Kari said...

Ok, I just pulled out a ruler and 6 inches tall is teeny tiny. Gods, it must be adorable up close and personal! Sorry about the sap sucker not making it, but glad all of the other "residents" seem to be doing well. :]

Shannon said...

Birds birds birds, love it!

Heather said...

Hi, i came across your blog on the wolf hollow website and was wondering about volunteering there? I live in Bellingham and have volunteered at a rehab center close by but would love the chance to work with seals and large birds. Do you live on the island? Do you know if there are work/volunteer passes to wave the $40 ferry fee to bring a car on? Or is wolf hollow close by the ferry dock? Any info would be great, I'll check back for a response. Thanks!!

Heather said...

Thanks Kari and Shannon!

Hi Heather! Yes, I do live here and no, unfortunately there isn't cheaper ferry fares for living or working here, although there is a frequent rider book of tickets you can buy. Check out the WA State Ferry website for that info. As for where Wolf Hollow is located, no, it isn't near town, but walking on and cabbing out there may be cheaper in the long run.