Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taking care of birds is so much work, let me tell you.  Right now most of the inside birds are being fed every 2 hours with the exception of the chimney swifts and the ones that are self feeding.  We got in an egret with a badly broken leg which is infected and not healing.  The vet would not even take him in because his chances of recovering are slim.

Monday at the county fair AWC had a table set up where we informed fair guests about the center and explained the stories of the birds that we brought with us.  We had the one legged red bellied woodpecker and a screech owl on display for people to see and they really were interested in their personal stories and how they ended up at AWC.  Giselle's son helped kids make bird binoculars out of toilet paper rolls and I tried to get kids involved in searching through owl pellets (the bones and fur of the animals that owls eat cannot be digested and are coughed up as a pellet).  Most were somewhat grossed out but there were quite a few that got very excited about finding bones and trying to figure out what part of the rat they found from the labeled bone chart we had.  Most people automatically thought that the pellets were feces but were surprised to find out that it was not, although a hunk of fur and bone puke did not make them any more interested.  It was only the second day of the fair so it was very crowded.

Tuesday, I met Giselle to the farm I used to work at before college and released 5 barn swallows.  They needed to be released where there were other swallows because they do not eat well on their own in captivity.  So, they go from us hand feeding them to being free and having to learn how to catch insects from watching other birds.  They quickly joined the flock that was flying around at the time so they should do well there.

We have gotten in several hawks that have been hit by cars or are young and injured.  I got to work with the red tails quite a bit last week by holding them and trying to get the new hawks to eat from us by hand feeding them.  They can be quite intimidating with the way that they stare at you.  They are quite a large hawk and since they are so common here, we have many.  We have 3 inside, and 11 outside in flight cages.

The robins that I brought are doing well, and are in the ICU incubator with 2 nestling mocking birds, one of which has a scissor beak.  This is where the top and bottom of the beak does not line up so it can be difficult for the bird to eat.  It's appetite is good so we will see how it does when it's older.

I only have a week left of interning at AWC unfortunately, but it has been an interesting experience considering I am used to working with mammals, which is very different.  The summer is coming to an end but there are still quite a bit of birds being brought to AWC.  The life of a rehabber is not an easy one.  You never know what is going to be brought in or to what extent the injured is going to be because most of the time people exaggerate how bad the injury is.  Rehabbing if definitely not boring!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It has been so busy at AWC. All of the chimney swifts we have are taking up a lot of Giselle's time and I am feeding the birds that are not in the nursery, and are being fed every 2 hours.  In between feedings I am working on cleaning, checking the ducklings outside, checking the geese outside to make sure they are not bleeding or having other issues, and bathing the goose we have with a broken back.  We have a wooden...I don't even know what to call it. I guess it is kinda of like a wheelchair for a goose.  It holds the goose up to relieve pressure from its back because it cannot stand and tends to flop over on its side when able to.  This is why we have to supervise bathing in its tub because the poor thing just falls over to its side and cannot get up.  It was found on a lake upside down trying to keep its head above water.  It is thought to have been purposely hit by a boat.

Saturday Giselle was at a meeting so I went to AWC to feed all of the birds for the day. First I had to call back 2 people that had injured birds, but one already died and the other was closer to another avian rehab center. Giselle took the swifts, but the other birds in the nursery are mostly fed every 2 hours with the exception of the barn swallows which are every hour.  The nursery includes many robins, 3 cedar waxwings, blue jay, 2 mallards, the one legged red bellied woodpecker, non-releasable hummingbird, hummingbird that hit a window, mockingbird, and 3 catbirds.  The downstairs birds are 2 non-releasable bluebirds, 4 robins, 2 cedar waxwings with a young bluebird, 3 barn swallows, the broken backed goose, 2 injured mourning doves, and 3 house sparrows. There are also several screech owls, a kestrel, 2 cooper's hawks, a broad winged
hawk, and an egret.  The 4 red bellied woodpeckers outside were released yesterday, and 2 crows were released last week.  The robins that were in with the red bellieds had a fecal done today and they have coccidia.  So along with the other 2 robins in the outside aviary, these are now going to have to get treated water to get rid of the coccidia parasites. All of the small circles all over the slide in that picture are the coccidia.  There are also 2 cages of house sparrows, an aviary with a tufted titmouse/2 phoebes/2 barn swallows, the blue jays and mourning doves, 10 ducklings, 2 geese, and all of the owls and hawks that are only fed in the morning or at night.

We got a new goose in today that was kept in someones garage for the past year.  This goose looks to have some kind of respiratory infection and is overweight. A young screech owl came in yesterday after being found under a pallet, probably hit a window and has a broken wing.  

Most of this week was feeding the usual round of birds every 2 hours and working on cleaning out cages/aviaries that are now empty from releases or birds moved.  The outdoor crow aviary was quite a mess and it took a while to scrub down the walls to make it look halfway decent.
One of the robins downstairs has mites and is now being treated with powder.  I had the wonderful experience of finding them crawling all over me and had to figure out which robin it was coming from because there are 3 separate carriers with robins I was feeding at the time.  Of course it was the middle one, so all three were treated just in case.

Monday night I went and picked up 2 robins from a mammal rehabber that picked them up from someone that was unwilling to drive them to AWC and I brought them the next day.  They are still doing well although I was surprised how young they were because most of our robins we have are all feathered.  These are still half naked and need to be kept in the incubator.

The 10 released mallards are still hanging around the pond.

Baby cedar waxwing just fed. You can see the full crop.

About to weigh a mourning dove.

Crow just released.

Resident harris hawk.

King of the pond that chased the ducks around. Has one wing.