Thursday, February 23, 2012


This American goldfinch is the latest patient to receive terrific care at VINS and return back to the wild a healthy bird.

Watch a video of this finch's release!

You may remember this bird came in several weeks ago with conjunctivitis (pink eye). Read her backstory here. She's all healed up now, and took a sweet flight back into the wild on an exceptionally warm February day.

Good luck, little gal!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not so pretty in pink

This American goldfinch has found herself with bad case of conjunctivitis, or pink eye. A woman brought the bird to VINS last week after observing her on the ground below a feeder, sitting there for hours.

When we examined the bird, we found the tissue around her left eye red and puffy with a little bit of crusty gunk. The eye was so puffy, in fact, it was nearly swollen shut. Her right eye was only slightly inflamed. We treated the finch with a round of antibiotics and have been flushing her eyes daily. Both eyes are clearing and the swelling is going down, but we're unsure about her vision in the left eye, so her rehabilitation is not quite over yet. We'll continue to flush her eyes and monitor the healing progress.

Like the human form of pink eye, avian conjunctivitis is contagious, so we have to keep this bird separated from our other patients, sterilize any syringes we use to medicate her, and be diligent about washing our hands immediately after handling her. But we don't mind giving this little gal some extra TLC: we think she's worth it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

That's a Wrap!

Slowly but surely, things are looking up for a barred owl who came to VINS a few weeks ago with a broken wing and massive head trauma. We suspect the bird was struck by a car.

See a video of this bird's care at VINS.

Today, VINS Wildlife Services Manager Sara Eisenhauer removed the wrap (that's the red material you see in the photo) that had been placed on the owl's right wing when admitted for care. The wing was wrapped to stabilize a fracture in the bird's wrist, and upon removal, a nice callous had formed proving the bone had grown back together at the fracture site. In addition to the healed fracture, the owl's head trauma has vanished with a mixture of medication and time.

Next up for this owl is some gentle physical therapy, performed daily to the owl's wing over the next few weeks. Once the wing has more flexibility, we'll test his flying ability in our flight cage. If all goes well, this barred will enjoy the rest of the winter in the woods of Vermont.

Below, Sara takes a close look at the fracture site after removing the wrap. See a video of this owl's care.