Friday, February 01, 2008

What's with All the Ruckus?

I went outside to go feed the adult Red-tailed hawk last Saturday and heard quite the commotion amongst the trees, with crows and seagulls all very disturbed by something and loudly vocalizing their distress. I continued walking down the path and an eagle flew off of our compost pile to a nearby tree!

Now, in all the years I have been at Wolf Hollow, I have never seen an eagle eating out of our compost pile. I have seen crows, ravens, song birds of all shapes and sizes, and even a fox picking through it like a buffet, but never an eagle. So, me being me, I went over to see what it could have possibly found worth eating and saw this:

It's the remnants of the deer leg that we fed our eagle in residence the other day. Looks like it did a good job of stripping it, even removing the fur. Yum!

I continued on to drop off food for the Red-tailed hawk and he is doing so much better. Now out in the Slatted Flight cage, he is flying and eating well and can catch live mice, which is always the last stumbling block they need to overcome/master before their final bid for freedom.

It wouldn't surprise me if it was released sometime this past week. The younger Red-tailed hawk was released a few weeks ago as well.

The eagle is still with us, still slowly healing, and still pissy. They took another x-ray of him to see how the dislocated joint was doing.

The big bulge at the base of his neck is his crop full of venison, so let's move our focus a bit south of that to his "shoulder" area. If you notice the joint on the right, which is actually the left wing, the ball of the main wing bone, the humerus, is in the socket of the shoulder, or coracoid/scapula area. Now take a look at the other side. You can see that the humerus is displaced out of that socket area. Here's a closer view:

Left shoulder....looks good! Right shoulder....

...not so much. I didn't see the initial x-ray, but hear this is an improvement over what it looked like upon his arrival. So that's good I guess. But if he would just keep a wing wrap on, it would help to speed things up! But since he won't, it's a steady but slooow healing process. I sometimes wonder if it actually will heal completely. I was told early on in my stint as a WH volunteer that soft tissue damage in birds is extremely hard to heal, more so than breaks, as if the tissue stretches too much it won't restrict back enough for the bird to be able to use that muscle/tendon to the extent it needs to, which is a bummer if it's a wing injury, as that means it won't be able to fly again. So let's keep our fingers crossed.

His feet look good though!

Til next time...


Kari said...

Yikes! You told me it was dislocated, but that's quite out of place! Will it go back in without a wing wrap, enough for him to fly? Too bad he's not like most mammals that can have their humeri popped back in. :/

Anonymous said...

Ok, what happens if he can never fly again? Will he be "eagle in residence"? Will he have a home at Wolf Hollow for the rest of whatever?

Kari said...

Oh, you said something about his feet looking good. Can't they get a foot thing if they sit too long on an even, smooth piece of wood? Not that he is, but I thought I remembered something about it. Darn it! What's it called?

Shannon said...

Hey, the blog looks really good! Glad to see you resolved the title problem.

Heather said...

Thanks Shannon. I finally ended up just changing templates.

Kari, we aren't sure if it is going to heal all the way and yes, he could get bumblefoot, but we are keeping an eye out for that.

To my Anonymous poster, here is how this usually works with eagles. Whenever we get one in, State and Federal Wildlife officials are notified, due to its Threatened status. All decisions about an eagle's welfare are made by the State. Even if we get one in that is severely injured and we want to euthanize it to put it out of its misery, we must first run it by State Wildlife officials first.

In cases where the injury heals but not well enough for the eagle to be released, our State Wildlife representative is the one, after doing a bit of research, who can tell us what the Educational Bird programs across the country are looking like...if the market is over-saturated with eagles looking to be permanently placed or if someone is looking for one. The younger the bird is the better chances are of placing it, as they are easier to train. Also, they need to have a calm demeanor about them as well. If the market is saturated, then they will give us permission to euthanize it, as we do not have the means of permanently housing an eagle. It's very sad, but it is the reality we have to deal with every day.