Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sitting in food is fun!

Baby mergansers in their food dish.
These two orphaned common mergansers -- both from separate clutches from different parts of Vermont -- have found sanctuary here at VINS. The mergs were somehow separated from their parents and were unable to be reunited with their families. 

So, we're taking over as Merg Mom and Dad, feeding the little guys throughout the day, providing them fresh duckweed, mealworms, and all sorts of aquatic critters to eat. We'll care for these youngsters until they fledge and can fend for themselves in the wild. (And yes, they will be released together).

As you can see from the photos above, baby waterfowl like to sit in their food! Sometimes will find them floating in their dish of duckweed. Check back here for updates on this duo, and stories about other baby birds in our care!

And don't forget to watch the merganser video!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Baby Crow, Baby Raven

The babies are rolling in on a steady basis now, with the VINS Wildlife Services department receiving injured and orphaned nestlings and fledglings on a near daily basis. Recently, two young corvids joined us: one crow and one raven.

Above, a juvenile crow's mouth is examined. Watch his full exam and learn more about this crow!

The young crow above may look full-grown, but his tail feathers are still growing in and he's got some downy body feathers. The absolute telltale sign that this corvid is still young, however, are his blue eyes. Yes, blue eyes! Baby corvids are born with blue eyes that turn to a dark brownish-black as they mature into adulthood. 

(Be sure to check out our Patient Cam, currently on this raven!)

The young raven, above, has the blue eyes of a juvenile. Watch a video of his exam!

The young raven, above, was found by the side of the road, emaciated and with a fracture in his left wing. Learn more about his diagnosis and care in this video of his recent check-up.

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Great to be Gray

Last month, staff at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) provided health exams to all of the center's residential birds -- from the golden eagles in our raptor exhibits, to our little mourning doves in the songbird exhibit. 

Our great gray owls -- a male and female -- both came to VINS after sustaining injuries that left them unable to fend for themselves in the wild: the male is missing an eye, and the female had a compound fracture in one of her wings that damaged a tendon. Below, VINS intern Priya Subbarayan examines the eye of one of our great grays. 

Above, Subbarayan (left) looks into an owl's ear, while Americorps member Emma Brinley Buckley holds the bird. Below is a closeup of the owl's ear. Both owls checked out in good health, and were returned to their outdoor enclosure after their exams. Come see these birds for yourself at the VINS Nature Center!