Friday, November 16, 2012

Invasion of the Grosbeaks

Photo by Sara Eisenhauer.
Well, Vermont isn't really undergoing an "invasion" of grosbeaks, but there sure have been a lot of sightings of pine grosbeaks in the Upper Valley of Vermont -- a rare sight indeed.

Watch a video of a grosbeak in our care!  

After recently seeing some female pine grosbeaks feeding in a fruited tree in Norwich, I wasn't too surprised when we recently received a call about an injured pine grosbeak needing care.

The bird, found hopping around a woman's yard in Thetford, Vermont, was examined at VINS, and found to have a fracture in her right shoulder. Her head was also drooping -- a sign of head trauma. We immediately wrapped her wing to her body to stabilize the fracture site, and gave her medications for pain and to treat the head trauma.

Above, a female grosbeak receiving care at VINS. 
In the second photo, her wing wrap is visible.
Just one day later, the female grosbeak is showing signs of improvement. She's holding her head up high (and trying to bite our fingers when we handle her!), and is eating well (a nice sign that she's feeling better). Her wing wrap will remain on for another 4 days, at which point we'll remove the wrap and reevaluate the fracture site. 

We're honored to have you in our care, Mrs. Grosbeak!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why so pink, barred owl?

In these photos, you will see the outstretched wing of a barred owl patient, and below that wing, the preserved wing of a barred owl who had died (wing kept for educational purposes).

Photos by Lauren DiBiccari.

Do you notice something about the wing of the live barred owl? It's pink! 

No, this is not a new subspecies of barred owl. Rather, this owl is sporting pink feathers due to his particular diet. What might one eat to make oneself pink? Around here, it's crayfish. Just like pink flamingos -- whose feathers are pink due to the high amount of shrimp in their diet -- other birds' feather color can be altered based on their diet as well.