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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wildlife Rehabilitator News

Wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath just sent an email regarding some recent raptor rescues. He had some good news and some not so good news:

From: Robert Horvath
Date: October 27, 2009
Subject: Raptor News

One of today’s stories turned out OK, for now. If the red-tailed spotted at 48th Street is truly in trouble, I'm sure somebody will spot it again shortly nearby. Thanks for all who were informed and concerned and offered assistance. This network can really help the city's birds for the future.

My second story isn't a good one. It concerns these pictures of the immature Red-tailed Hawk rescued today by Urban Park Rangers Vincent and DelPilar in the Bronx. They called me this afternoon after they captured the limping bird at a construction site on Bathgate Ave. between 175th and 176th streets in the Bronx. They will respond to calls even outside the park when permissible. They did an excellent job with this one. Seems this bird has been there for at least the past 2 days. After I met them and saw its condition I have no doubt somebody had this bird in their possession, evidenced by the brutal hatchet job done on its talons. How long cannot be told but the bird, even after this painful event, still has no fear and is comfortable around people and still handles easily. In addition, it has now a fractured wing I could detect after palpating. It's not life threatening and still in good alignment so should heal well hopefully. The talon issue is another story. They are open bloody stubs that I doubt can grow back enough for survival in the wild. It is limping because it is in so much pain. Cathy immediately gave her pain meds once home and we will consult our vet for long-term pain management and the best possible treatment. We've seen birds come in missing 1 or even 2 talons from accidents and even had birds lose a talon sheath while in our care if it accidently gets caught on something. With just 1 toe mishap it’s a bloody mess so it’s easy to understand it is now anemic from blood loss from its "nail clipping “. Please understand this is the reason why we jump the gun when we hear of any fuzzy or young bird being grounded in the city. They can easily be picked up and can end up in the wrong hands and, even if someday returned, often are ruined for life like this bird. I don't know if it was found as a fledgling or not but it is this year's baby. It is in good weight and feather condition so at least it has that much on its side. Somebody at least fed it well before it escaped or was released. It will be many months before any future will be known for this one.

Next, I received an injured Saw-whet Owl about 2 weeks from Manhattan. Beth Stern, wife of radio personality Howard Stern, had just left her home [...] near Broadway at 5am to walk her dog when she found the owl lying on the sidewalk. Nobody witnessed anything, but he has a wing injury and a possible fractured coracoid as well. Most likely some sort of collision, either car or window. He cannot fly presently, but is calm, quiet and eating well so we hope for the best for him. Beth is a huge animal lover and donates her time to North Shore Animal League and Wildlife Rescue of The Hamptons, as well, and has been contacting us to check on her little rescue regularly.

Lastly, one more sad story. We were very happy that James O'Brien, Peter Richter and his dad were able to trek out here to come release the young Bald Eagle we rescued last winter that came in with lead poisoning and some unknown sticky substance on her feathers. We met with DEC personal who banded her along with another Bald Eagle that Cathy had nursed back from avian pox virus in August. Well, we put her on the ground and she appeared stunned with her new found freedom and hopped and skipped along in the tall grass. We caught her and thought that maybe she needed a little lift so we then put her on a 5 foot perch and she took off beautifully and sat in a tree 100 yards away, and we watched her until we had to leave. Ten days later I was at work (as usual, when the sh** usually hits the fan), when Cathy got a call that a guy found a huge hawk at the beach. It's now in his garage. Well, that day it was pouring and Cathy had the 2 kids to deal with so she asked if he could put it in a box for her. He said "yeah, if he had a refrigerator box" sarcastically. Many people exaggerate the size of animals, but this guy did not. Seems he was driving on the parkway about a 1/2 mile from where she was originally picked up by us back in 12/08 (Captree State Park, 20 miles south of the release spot in Smithtown), when he saw this soaking wet bird that looked in trouble. He had nothing in his car but a robe [...] which he threw over her and put her in his trunk. Cathy got to his house, opens the garage door and hears crashing around inside the dimly lit room. It was only after she opened the door cautiously about a foot off the ground that she saw a blue band on the leg, which the guy never mentioned, and she immediately knew who it was. She called me at work screaming "it's the eagle, it's the eagle". I thought she was messing with me. [...]

She survived once again, reverting back to her old ways grubbing fish from fishermen who threw food to her at the beach. She’s back here like she never left, sad to say, but happy she wasn't found dead or worse, not found at all. Her future is uncertain for now. Obviously, we want the best for her, but how many lives can one silly eagle possibly have? We thought about when we released her the first time, that she had spent more than twice the time of her short life in captivity than in the wild. She had, perhaps, 5 months time out of the nest and 11 in a cage. That doesn't help her odds, but doesn't make it impossible, either. This is where the argument I believe evolves from that rehabbing doesn't work and we're messing with mother nature by assisting birds that were predisposed not to survive, but I won't even open that can of worms here. [...]


I just discovered that Howard Stern has a posting with photo on his website about the Saw-whet Owl that his wife rescued.

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