A Day in the Life

If there’s one thing that holds true in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, it’s that one day is never quite like the next. Monday you may be hydrating a red-tailed hawk subcutaneously (beneath the skin), and Tuesday you might find yourself suturing an open wound on a ruffed grouse.

To give you an idea of some of the things we do here at VINS Wildlife Services, take a peak at the photos and videos I’ve posted.

Above, Wildlife Services’ staff Audrey Gossett (right) and Sara Eisenhauer examine an injured crow that had just been brought to VINS by a member of the public. Below, Audrey examines the bird’s wing and leg, carefully feeling for possible fractures and checking for wounds. Watch a video of the entire examination.

After a full examination, the crow was found to have a break in his leg. To heal this fracture, we knew the best thing to do would be to splint the crow’s leg, which we did while the crow was under anesthesia — see below. We anesthetize birds who may become too stressed during certain medical procedures.

The crow’s fractured leg will be checked periodically, to see how it’s healing. Once the fracture has healed, the splint will be removed and physical therapy may be performed to loosen up the leg muscles. From that point on, the crow will be upgraded periodically to larger and larger enclosures, ending finally in our flight cage where he can build up his muscles before returning to the wild.

Another patient recently admitted is shown above undergoing a common routine: he’s being weighed! All of the birds who come into our care are weighed once a week, if not more often. Monitoring a bird’s weight is vital to ensuring the bird’s return to health. A sudden drop in weight or no weight gain when needed is a sign something is wrong. Above, Audrey prepares to weigh a barred owl. In the video you’ll see that the owl’s head is covered with a towel. This helps keep the owl calm during the weighing process. This owl “got his bell rung” when struck by a car. Beyond minor head trauma, the owl is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

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