Hope was shot near Summer Lake. She has a broken wing and had 4 hours of orthopedic surgery last Tues (25th). She now has 6 weeks of rehabilitation and recovery ahead of her. Care of Hope and her rehabilitation will involve physical therapy a couple times a week, bandage changes, medications twice a day, a diversity of food, and specialized housing that protects her keel, feet, and the waterproofing of her plumage.
Hope is a Trumpeter Swan, which were on the endangered species list for decades. Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife has worked for 20 years to get Trumpeters nesting and breeding again here in Oregon. Hope is the first bird born in Summer Lake to have been from a completely wild pair of birds. Her injury is particularly tragic for this reason. And ODFW, Native Bird Care, and her Drs are doing all they possibly can to save Hope.
Her primary doctor is Dr. Cassie Lodge of Broken Top Vet. Elise has a lot of waterbird training, but for specific swan information she goes to Renee Schott, a swan specialist at Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of MN. The orthopedic surgeon and team at Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates in Springfield, OR took Hope on for her surgery. Without all these folks help, Hope would have had, well no hope.
The hardest part of waterbird rehabilitation is preventing captivity related injuries that come from not swimming, sitting, and atrophy. This is particularly true for very large, heavy birds that spend most of their time on the water. These injuries can include skin sores on the bird's chest, sores on the bottom of the feet, and loss of waterproofing from not preening. Water is key.
At some point, we aim to get Hope a pool so that she can actually swim and get off her feet. We do this for loons and grebes now.
Enjoy these pictures and I will blog on Hope again soon.
The little - specifically 10 gram! - yellow warbler was released yesterday. Above is a picture a day or two before in the aviary. There was some question on whether she was a yellow or orange-crowned. These pictures may resolve that, specially the rear one. She mooned me.
Its so difficult to take photos once they are in the aviary...just so high strung and no, they won't sit for me, not this sized bird.
She is a good example of a window strike. Another I got in just after her was not so lucky. These little birds can get going amazingly fast, and when the hit a window if they don't hit their head, they take the strike with the shoulder or full body. Clavicle and coracoid injuries result.
Its best to not handle a bird much with this kind of injury. Something has to be done to keep the bird's wing in correct placement for healing...best done by someone with skill and small hands. Its easy to make this injury worse and cause the bird to be unreleasable (a death sentence).
A flight cage is so important. This bird once out of her wrap, had difficulty gaining loft and navigating. She went from a large indoor netted enclosure, to the 12' x 16' aviary - quite large for her tiny size. It took her 3 full days of full on flight to gain her strength, endurance, and stamina back. She would not have been releasable without this physical therapy. She spent a full week in the aviary.
She was released yesterday, and we wish her well. Just in time to migrate to Mexico. Have a safe trip!
Native Bird Care is small. But the work we do is critical. The needs of the birds we work with - song, shore, and waterbirds - are often underestimated. Each species is so unique that we must cater to each type of bird and their particular needs in care and housing. Add to that, handling these birds can be tricky; they all require specialized training.