Quick follow-up on last post: If you were tuned in last time, I was discussing several fracture cases that were being managed at SFBOWCEC. I’m happy to report that of the four birds, three were released. This included two brown pelicans with wing fractures and a Western gull with a femur fracture. Unfortunately the fourth bird, a second-year glaucous-winged gull with an ulna fracture did not heal well and had to be euthanized.
So, on to other topics. Spring is arriving at the center so I’ll take this opportunity to post some gratuitous cute baby bird photos for your viewing pleasure. Photos were taken by Marie Travers, assistant rehabilitation manager for the International Bird Rescue Research Center program that operates out of SFBOWCEC.
First up, of course, mallard ducklings.
The center receives several hundred (meaning ~600-800 mallard ducklings) each summer. We also receive wood ducks, gadwalls, and occasionally Northern shovelers. The upside is that because ducklings are precocial, they require very little parental care. The downside is, the eat a tremendous amount, and what comes in must go out. Thankfully, as of last summer, we have been working with an egg salvage group in Durham, CA, Rancho Esquon (www.ranchoesquon.com) that has been taking most of our ducklings and raising/releasing them. This leaves us much more time to deal with other babies, such as Canada geese.
One of my personal favorites. We get several dozen of these every season. They are so cute that we have to resist the temptation to dote on them since they become imprinted on people very easily. An imprinted goose will not fear people as an adult and may even be aggressive, so this is definitely something we try to avoid. Luckily, IBRRC has had good success with “rehoming” goslings by strategically introducing them into a family of geese with similarly sized young.
We are just beginning to receive young herons and egrets, which keep us very busy in the summer. A few of the species we commonly see:
These birds nest in large communal colonies (rookeries), several of which exist in the area (Santa Rosa, Davis, Napa State Hospital and others). Young often fall from their nests and are brought to wildlife rehabilitation centers. These birds are also quite precocial and able to feed themselves almost right away. However, because these birds are so long-limbed and gangly often fall from nests high in tree, they sometimes come to us with severe injuries, such as fractures.
Other species that we commonly care for in the spring and summer are:
So, this is what we have to look forward to for the next few months. Its rough, I know. Actually, the first couple dozen of anything is cute, but after that, a little of the appeal is lost. Anyway, until next time, Cheers!
Shannon, Clinical Veterinarian