Robin: In It to Win It

Found bleeding in the road, this American robin came to VINS with a golf ball-sized patch of skin missing from her rump — the area just above her tail. We suspect she was struck by a car or dropped by a predator. In any case, this common backyard bird is in for the long haul here at the Wildlife Services department — but she’s got spirit, and we think she’s in it to win it!

Watch a video of her bandage change.

Due to the large amount of exposed flesh, the bird is at serious risk for infection. We’re cleaning her wound and changing the bandage daily to reduce such a risk. We are also concerned about the robin’s uropygial gland — a gland on the rump that secretes oil (when pinched by the bird’s beak) that can be applied to the feathers to assist with waterproofing. If the gland does not heal properly, the bird may have trouble keeping her feathers waterproof, which may cause death. Waterlogged feathers may prevent flight and may cause hypothermia as rainwater will soak to the bird’s skin instead of rolling off the feathers.

So far, the robin is a great patient. She endures her bandage changes quite well, with minimal stress. And despite her injury, she eats a full meal each day without hesitation. We are eager to see her wound close up, and discover if this classic songbird will sing again for us Vermonters.

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