Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rearin'-to-go Redstart

This little American redstart was found on the sidewalk beside a huge department store. We believe that she flew into one of the enormous plate glass windows, seeing a reflection of the sky in it and believing she could fly right on through. No such luck.

But the good news is this gal just needed to "shake it off" and regain her composure. We receive many calls at VINS about birds flying into windows and sitting on the ground stunned, unable to fly or move much at all. Unless you see blood or an obviously fractured bone, we recommend giving the bird 30 minutes to "snap out of it." Often, within 30 minutes, you'll see the bird fly off just fine. If 30 minutes pass and the bird is still on the ground stunned, we advise bringing him or her to your nearest rehabilitator: there could be a fracture, head trauma or internal injuries.

As you will see in our video, this redstart zipped right of of the box we kept her in overnight. Safe travels, little warbler!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What a gem

First step. First word. First love.

"Firsts" are always exciting. On May 14th, 2011, VINS wildlife staff had one of those special moments when we had our first successful release of a hummingbird that came through the VINS wildlife rehab center in 2011. See a video here of this little guy returning to the wild.

This male ruby throated hummingbird was brought in when he was found in a covered porch, unable to fly. Such a small bird can be damaged very easily, so we expected the worst. But our exam gave us hope, and a bit of a chuckle - his wings were stuck together by spiderwebs! We pulled the webs out, gave him some nectar for a calorie boost, and let him rest a bit after his traumatic morning. Then he was off again to do what hummingbirds do.

Check out our video of this hummingbird's release!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why did the duck cross the road?

This handsome mallard is still probably asking himself the same thing. When he stepped out on the road last week he ended up getting nailed by a passing vehicle and suffering some serious road-rash. But, he had two things going for him:

1. He got hit right in front of the home of some serious duck lovers, who brought him straight into the Wildlife Services department here at VINS.

2. None of his bones were broken.

You can see in our pictures that we started his care by cleaning out a big laceration on his chest and abdomen, then flushing it with sterile saline to get all the gunk out. We then wrapped him up to keep any new gunk from getting in. Now he is getting daily wound care, antibiotics, and meals from a tube (just until he starts eating better on his own).

Once his wound heal we are hoping send him right back to where he came from, and next time, we hope he looks both ways before he crosses the road.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guess Who?

A goose, that's who!

This Canada gosling (a baby Canada goose) was recently orphaned, and is the first baby bird the VINS Wildlife Services department has received this spring!

The people who found her in their yard tried to find her family, and did the right thing by leaving the gosling outside in a shallow container where she peeped loudly. If the parents were around, they would've followed the sounds of her peeps and come to get her. But the parents never showed. So we've taken this gosling under our wing and are raising her here at VINS. We'll return her to the wild once she is old enough to fly.

This goose is currently in our 1-way viewing window -- part of our Rehab-in-Action exhibit that lets you see some of our patients currently receiving care (but they can't see you!). Come visit VINS soon to take a gander at this gosling -- she won't be in our window much longer: she'll be too big in no time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Look For It Now: Dutchman's Breeches

Until a few days ago, Dutchman's breeches were, for me, a wildflower of mythical proportions. Surely a flower that resembles miniature pantaloons hanging upside-down from a clothesline could not grow plainly out in the woods of good old Vermont.

But on a recent walk along a dirt road, scads of Dutchman's breeches could be found, growing right out there in the open alongside fully-blossomed trout lily, trillium and pink and white spring beauties. A total feast for anyone's peepers!

The flowering plant, which grows 4-8" tall, is named for the white flowers, which look an awful lot like billowing white breeches (or "britches") drying on a clothesline. These won't bloom for much longer, so get outside and look for these now!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Catch You Later, Grouse!

The ruffed grouse who came into our care last month with a large wound beneath his wing and head trauma made a full recovery here at VINS.

We returned this woodland bird (often
mistakenly called a "partridge") to the great outdoors last week after a month of expert care here at VINS. See a video of VINS Wildlife Services interns Marie Hammond and Lauren Potter releasing the grouse in Vermont. In the photo above, Potter releases the bird.

Read more about this grouse's care at VINS here. Good luck, grouse!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's the little things...

Here in the VINS Wildlife Services department, we see a wide variety of bird species come into our care, but some patients are more unique than others. On April 29th, we received this tiny warbler, also known as a northern parula. These small songbirds are one of the many migratory species that return to Vermont each spring. This little guy flew into the window of a building and suffered some mild head trauma. After a few days of treatment and some R & R, we returned this warbler to the wild.

This bird was particularly exciting for me, for I am an avid warbler watcher. I find that these songbirds are one of the surest signs of spring. They arrive just as the trees are budding, which makes it slightly easier to see and identify them. But warblers are such a challenge, with their small size, constant movement and high-pitched songs, I find myself chasing them for hours just to get one good look with my binoculars. In this case, it was nice to see one of these beautiful birds up-close and personal, without the chasing!

Monday, May 2, 2011

That's No Wizard

We had quite the surprise recently when one of our volunteer transporters brought in a box containing one small bird. This particular bird was found outside a home and appeared to have flown into a window. The bird showed signs of spinal and head trauma and was unable to stand, so she was taken right into our ICU for treatment. Since coming in, our patient has recovered the use of her legs and, because of the remarkable improvement, is continuing to recuperate in one of our indoor flight enclosures.
You can watch a video feed of this bird on our live webcam.

Now, an injured bird coming into VINS is pretty normal, but a merlin? That's something we don't see very often. Merlins are small falcons -- this one weighing just over 1/4 of a pound -- with a unique characteristic. Unlike many raptor species, merlins are sexually dimorphic in ornamentation, meaning males and females have different color patterns. Based on her beautiful iron and brown coloration, this particular merlin is a female. A male merlin would have a steel blue back and a redder pattern on his belly.

Seeing a merlin this close is a real treat for us since they generally only pass through Vermont on their migration route. And lucky for this little girl, it looks like she in on the fast track to recovery and should be ready for release very soon!