Friday, August 24, 2012

Down the Hatch

VINS interns Calah Beckwith (left) and Lauren DiBiccari tend to a robin.
This young American robin took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up under a car at a local car dealership. We believe the robin struck a window or building, sustaining damage to his central nervous system resulting in a lack of leg use. See our video of the bird receiving care.

Currently, the robin is receiving medication and is being tube-fed three times a day, as he is too unstable to eat on his own. While the going is tough for this songbird right now, we have high hopes he'll return to the wild a healthy bird.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wildness Defined

This beautiful red-tailed hawk is currently receiving care at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. She was found sitting in a road, not flying away when approached; we suspect she was struck by a car. 

Upon examination, we found no fractures or open wounds on the bird, but we did find she was suffering from head trauma and had severe damage to her left eye. While the bird is recovering from the head trauma, her eye has been permanently damaged in the accident, leaving her blind in that eye. Watch a video of this hawk.

Intern Calah Beckwith tube-feeds the bird a nutritious slurry, while intern Sarah Sanderson holds the bird, using welding gloves to protect herself from the raptor's talons.
The video shows the hawk receiving a liquid diet via a tube, but she is now eating solid food (yes, mice) and is stronger than ever. Red-tailed hawks are incredibly powerful, with super-strong talons, muscular wings and thighs, and sharp beaks that are quick to bite. We have to use extra care when handling this mighty lady. 

The hawk strikes a defensive pose by raising her wing.
With the blindness, it is unlikely this hawk will return to the wild. Hawks need both eyes to hunt, and without an ability to hunt, the hawk could starve to death in the wild. If we do deem her non-releasable, we will try to find her a permanent home in a nature center.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wild Youth

Two American robins fly out of a box and into the wild.
Earlier this week, a whole crew of juvenile songbirds -- raised from nestlings to fledglings here at VINS -- were released back into the wild.

Some of the young birds had been orphaned, while others came in after being attacked by pet cats and had to receive special medication.

VINS Wildlife Services Manager Sara Eisenhauer released several American robins, songs sparrows, a chipping sparrow, and a cedar waxwing, as VINS visitors watched on. Watch our video of the birds' release, and be sure to watch for the funny flight of the chipping sparrow!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kingfisher: All Grown Up

Remember that nestling belted kingfisher who came into our care about a month ago? Well, she's all grown up!

This kingfisher, found orphaned at the bottom of a sandpit, was raised by staff at VINS, who fed her fish (and the occasional chopped mouse), gave her a swimming pool to bathe, and made sure she maintained a healthy weight.

Now the bird is fully feathered, flying like a champ, and ready to return to the wild. The people who were kind enough to rescue the bird from the depths of the sandpit are picking the kingfisher up Monday and releasing her back into the wild. 

We wish you luck, little kingfisher!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Release of the Mallards

Two ducklings came into our care a month ago, orphaned after their mother and siblings were struck dead by a car. We raised the ducklings here at VINS, taking special care not to imprint the young waterfowl. 

The two birds were ready for release last week, and VINS intern Lauren DiBicarri sent these guys back into the wild on the Ottauquechee River.

These ducks are just a couple of the nearly 500 birds VINS treats each year.