Broad winged hawk, patient #17449, was released on Saturday at the Hummingbird Festival in Charlotte.  This bird had been with us for 302 days.  He was admitted with severe feather damage and had to wait to molt new feathers.

Thanks to Phil Fowler for sharing these great photos. 

Mississippi Kites!

We currently have two MIKIs (the acronym for the species) being treated in our medical center.  This is pretty cool because they are one of our more rare species.  Since 1988, we have admitted 51 total.  The numbers are increasing (with a random spike in 2007), but we still typically admit 4 or less a year.  This year we are already at 5.  

Both birds were transferred from the Columbia, SC area, where they are more common.  The adult was admitted with an ulna fracture and the juvenile with a humerus fracture.  The radiograph of the adult showed a metal foreign body (indicating gunshot).  

Mississippi kites are migratory.  They spend most of the year in South America, only venturing up north from late March/early April to late August/early September.  Their breeding range includes the Gulf Coast, Central Great Plains, and up the Atlantic coast into the Carolinas.  They normally don’t travel as far north as the foothills of North Carolina, where we are located, but isolated pairs have been spotted (this summer a pair was identified in south Charlotte).  

One of the MIKIs is an adult and the other is a juvenile, which is indicated by the plumage difference.  The adult is dark grey with a long black tail.  The juvenile has heavy brown streaks on its underparts.  

MIKIs are a challenge to feed because they are insect eaters.  Not only are they insect eaters, but they prefer to catch their prey in flight and consume midair.  We have learned that they will eat reliably if their food is placed on a feeding platform at eye level near their favorite perch.  They are also quite messy eaters, so their food must be cut up tiny.  

We admitted a beautiful, pale red-shouldered hawk over the weekend.  The top two photos are this patient, #18187, and the bottom is another adult red-shouldered hawk with their typical plumage coloration.  

His body is bright red, which is normal for red-shouldered hawks in this area, but the head is almost bleached white.  Is it from the sun?  Or is it just his morph?  We aren’t really sure.  We do know that he is a gorgeous bird and he really needs to heal from the head trauma so that we can release him.  

Do I have something in my {falcon} teeth?
The juvenile falcon is back again.  This time she was trapped underneath a dome off the 40th floor.  We aren’t sure how long the bird was trapped but she is thin.  We hope to put some weight back on her and then get her back uptown.  Luckily, she has no problem eating.
Third time’s the charm, right? Right…

Do I have something in my {falcon} teeth?

The juvenile falcon is back again.  This time she was trapped underneath a dome off the 40th floor.  We aren’t sure how long the bird was trapped but she is thin.  We hope to put some weight back on her and then get her back uptown.  Luckily, she has no problem eating.

Third time’s the charm, right? Right…

We have admitted 52 raptors in the past two weeks.  And surprisingly most have been adults.  Here are a few of our more recent intakes:

1) juvenile black vulture patient #18120, more than likely a true orphan.  this bird is extremely emaciated but seems to be hanging in there.

2) juvenile red-tailed hawk patient #18130, soft tissue damage due to electrocution

3) adult great horned owl patient #18128, fractured humerus and emaciation. we plan to surgically repair the fracture tomorrow morning. when this bird was admitted, a significant portion of his humerus was exposed and contaminated, but luckily it was healthy.  this owl is so feisty that she must be guaranteed to survive.  

Yesterday, we returned the juvenile falcon to its nest site on the 40th floor of One Wells Fargo Center in Uptown Charlotte. We were hesitate about re-nesting her as the siblings were no longer in the nest and the parents had not been seen for a few days.  Luckily, the father came back shortly after we placed the juvenile at the nest site.  Here is a photo that was taken this morning of the male feeding her.  You can even see the toe that we amputated in the photo (the talon is missing).  The juvenile has the blue feet and the adult has the yellow feet.  

Yesterday, we returned the juvenile falcon to its nest site on the 40th floor of One Wells Fargo Center in Uptown Charlotte. We were hesitate about re-nesting her as the siblings were no longer in the nest and the parents had not been seen for a few days.  Luckily, the father came back shortly after we placed the juvenile at the nest site.  Here is a photo that was taken this morning of the male feeding her.  You can even see the toe that we amputated in the photo (the talon is missing).  The juvenile has the blue feet and the adult has the yellow feet.