Monday, January 14, 2008

I Call "Do Overs"!

Yes, this is how I felt when I found out that the Merlin broke off, a day after the imping procedure, his outermost feather, the one that is technically, I am told, called R10.

As you can see, it really was the wood piece that couldn't take the pressure and it broke at the joint area, as when the Merlin, or any bird for that matter, goes to land on the side of the cage, it braces itself with its wings, like this:

I then tried to get a picture of the feather nub on the wing to find out just how much of the wood piece was left in that.

There was still quite a bit of it left in there. At this point, Dr. Loftus needed to decide if we should try this again, and that we did on Friday morning. The only difference is that we decided to just have Penny hold the Merlin while we did this instead of anesthetizing him. And luckily, more of the wooden skewer bit had fallen out of the wing nub over the last week and a half, making this a bit easier.

First, we measured the broken feather against the new one, and marked the new feather so we knew where we were going to cut it at.

Then we glued another skewer bit into the wing nub portion.

And yes, we did wrap his feet, although I am sure Penny wished we could have done the same with his head, as the procedure was punctuated with Penny "ouching" when his head would get out of the towel and he would start trying to bite off one of her fingers, glove and all.

We then glued on the new feather and then thoroughly glued all around the joint section.

At this point, we all brainstormed and came to the general consensus that we needed to somehow strengthen this area. Dr. Loftus said we should just use another feather bit, so I cut off the hollow bit of another feather and then sliced it open down one side.

This was then wrapped, as much as it could be, and glued around the joint area.

No, it isn't pretty, as this is just the initial stage, where we were just trying to get it around the joint area without getting glue everywhere! We then went around the area and crimped it down as much as possible while the glue was drying, but not hard enough to break the feather or wood.

We let this dry and then put him in a small carrier for a bit to de-stress and let the feather solidify in its place before letting him go back into the aviary.

As of today, the feather is still holding strong!

Let's take an imping break and chat about our largest resident in right now and that is this eagle.

He was spotted on New Years Eve walking across a road here on San Juan Island. Yes, "walking" is the key word here. Local law enforcement officers called Penny and she went out to wrangle him into a kennel. Turns out he dislocated one of his wings. But, being the wild raptor that he is, he removed all 3 wing wraps we have put on him. So, he has been staying in the Indoor Aviary so as to keep his movements to a minimum. I was concerned that something more might be wrong with him, as up until the 5th, he wasn't eating on his own and when I went in to clean up the aviary, he just sat on his perch. I didn't get the usual defensive display...spread wings and gaping beak. In fact, I had to take one of the folded sheets and use it to nudge him off of his perch. Want to know how close that is? It's this close:

No zoom was needed. I am happy to report that he is now eating on his own and is feeling well enough to act a bit pissy when people walk into the aviary.

Til next time...