Monday, October 24, 2011

Boy, it's getting birdies, fly

Just going to update on a couple of patients.

First, the little female Kestrel that came in from Redmond, Utah has been released. I took her near the airport here in Price, where I just released some other Kestrels a few months ago and away she went. In spite of all she had endured at the hands of her 'rescuers', she is now free and hopefully doing well. This picture was taken just before I drove her to the airport.

We had another gunshot victim come in recently. An immature male Coopers hawk. Just horrifying. Both legs were broken, the shot having gone through both of them and breaking bones along the way. The poor little guy couldn't stand and was just dragging himself around, on the ground, by his wings. He was near death, starving and dehydrated. Normally we would NEVER do surgery on a patient in this condition. We would take some time and rehydrate them and get their weight up, increasing their chances of surviving the surgery. We didn't have that option on this guy as the injuries were already old and open, so I hydrated him for a day and gave him one tube feeding and said a prayer. We took x-rays and they showed the shot still in the bird. He went into surgery, planning on doing one leg, then bringing him out of anesthesia and then doing the other leg the next morning. He died as soon as the first surgery was over. We did everything we could. He had only lived a few months and suffered terribly at the end. I hate days like that. I have to remind myself of those that make it and are now free again to be wild.

So now that is two, actually three open cases we have for victims of gunshot. A Turkey vulture from LaSall, Utah, a Golden eagle from Monticello, Utah and this Coopers hawk from Price.


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Feathered brothers and sisters, you came to us broken and as you bled…….we saw you desperate, dehydrated, desiccated, diseased, distressed, emaciated, famished, frayed, frightened, helpless, hungry, ragged, ravenous, shaken, shocked, shot, sickly, stressed, stunned, tattered, thirsty, traumatized, torn, weary and wounded. Defiantly, you stood us off with your last breath as we tried to tend to you. We saw you come in as cute, naked, fuzzy, cuddly youth, as mischievous, defiant adolescents, as fierce, regal rulers of the sky and as cunning, maimed elders whose time on earth was almost done. You endeared yourselves to us, bit us, charmed us, footed us, delighted us, hissed at us, talked to us, mantled at us, and graced us with your presence.

Some of you mended and were able to go on your way, never looking back. Some of you were injured in ways that prevented you from going, so you stayed with us to teach us…….And we came to love you. Others were too far gone, and you went home - where you fly free from pain with the Great One. All of you have touched us, and we are changed because of you.

used with permission by Arlene Powers