Patient #16184, red-tailed hawk, found in Charlotte NC
This bird was brought by Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control (thank you!) early this afternoon. Upon intake, we noticed that multiple talons/toes were amputated and completely healed. This bird had been surviving without three talons/toes, including one of the most important, the hind toe or the hallux. Cases like this are always interesting because we constantly debate whether or not a raptor is releasable if it is missing a hallux. This toe is essential in killing and gripping prey items.
Unfortunately, the prognosis is poor for this bird. He seems to be suffering from a possible toxin, most likely ingested. Neurological symptoms include tremors and ataxia. But, you never know. These guys are very resilient.
Please know that rodent poison is very dangerous to raptors and other wildlife. They are normally subjected to secondary poisoning when they eat a rodent that has been eating the poison. These mice/rats are either dead or just easier to catch because they are sick and/or dying.