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!

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