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Birdchick Blog: Notes From The Raptor Center Clinic

Friday, July 28, 2006

Notes From The Raptor Center Clinic

It is Cooper's hawk city down in the clinic of The Raptor Center. Every time I run downstairs to grab some food for one of the education birds, I see someone working on a young Coop. It makes sense, right now they are learning to fly and hunt and since these hawks have done such a great job of adapting to living with people, they are easily noticed by kind hearted folks. Since adult Coops will sometimes drive songbirds into windows to stun them, young Coops who haven't figured out all the nuances of flight hit quite a few windows this time of year.

Most young red-tailed hawks have been out and hunting for a couple of months, but even they are showing up injured. This young red-tail with massive talons was just admitted and was under going an eye exam and an all over check up.

If you notice this envelope on the tail, that is put on the birds so they won't damage their tail feathers as they are recovering in the clinic cages. Strong, unbroken feathers are just as essential to their survival in the wild as everything else. It would be a shame to heal the raptor's injuries and then send it out with broken tail feathers that would affect it's flight and hunting ability.

Here the red-tail is getting ready to go in for x-ray. Since birds are more relaxed if they cannot see what's going on, the clinic vets put a hood over it's face. This, believe it or not does help birds feel safe and keeps them calm for the x-ray.

This red-tail was chock full of this NASTY smashed up bug. This is a hippoboscid fly (read all about 'em at Hilton Pond) and is one of the down sides of insects that you face if you work with wild birds. They are blood parasites and pretty much all birds have them. They don't really get any benefits from mammals, but that's not to say the flies don't try. They move all herky jerky like a spider, and then fly into your face or hair and crawl around. This one is a little smashed, the vets grab and pop them as they find them on the bird. Eeewww. Ah, the glamorous lifestyle of a raptor vet...popping blood parasites.


Blogger Morgen said...

Thanks for sparing us ear maggot photos this time! :)

7/28/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Nice...a good cup of coffee and a sweetroll. Oooh look! A Coopers Hawk- love those birds! Scroll down...Eeeew... a squishy, bloody bug! Hit the Hilton Pond link, blood sucking flies in eyebrows!! Put down the roll and walk away. Yuck!

thanks Birdchick!

7/28/2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

LOL! I love the gross-out item and folks' reactions.

7/28/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger birdchick said...

Sorry I didn't warn about the gross out item. I wasn't on my game on that one.

7/28/2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

At the first photo I thought "Oh yeah... I need to trim the dogs' toenails... gee those gloves might be handy" (why do puppy toenails grow so fast?!?)

A friend sent me this link that seems like it's in line with your bird humor:

7/28/2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger miz_geek said...

We used to call it the Flat Fly Stomp. *Shudder*

But I love the red-tail feet!

7/28/2006 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Falconsong said...

I just found your site and was reading through random posts and saw this one. This bug creeps me out thoroghly (and Im hard to creep out). I didnt know what it was when I found an injurted pigeon (it had foxfire the vet said and had to put it down). Thank you for the link and the info. I must check out your page more often, Im a big bird lover.


8/02/2006 12:40 AM  

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