Friday, September 7, 2007

Nighthawks (before) Dinner: Bird Rescue Pts II, III and IV

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's happened again. I was called to rescue an potentially injured bird. But first, an update on this week's PEREGRINE FALCON rescue.

I placed a follow-up call on Thursday evening. The vet informed me that the Peregrine is doing ok. She was a little slow to respond. Although she was more than a bit dehydrated, the vet said she looked like she might be able to recover and hopefully one day soon, be released back into the wild. She may have some fractured ribs and potential cognitive/brain issues. That remains to be seen and time will tell if she recovers fully. The good news is the wings and sternum are unbroken.

Regarding the plethora of bird strike window kills at this particular office building, USFWS is taking action to get them treated and corrected. Some office workers estimate that over 600 birds have died over the last few years since this building has been built. While the rescue was taking place, there were many building workers stunned watching on their lunch break. Hopefully, the situation will be corrected soon.

In the meantime, I just wanted to mention that the folks at Tri-State are doing an excellent job.

BIG THANKS go out to MDOSPREY, Tri-State, Ed and Doug at the office for all of their help and letting the right people know about the injured bird, Phil Davis for sending the intial email and yet again, Craig at USFWS for saving this falcon's life. And I will keep you informed as to how the bird is recovering and if there is a release date planned, I'll let everyone know that as well.

NOW, back to today's story.

As I am finishing up my work day (which included a great look from 20 feet at an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER), I had a phone call from Bill Herald, owner of the Wild Bird Center here in West Annapolis. (oh, but first, some American Golden Plover photos!)
As I was saying, a local Annapolis neighbor called Bill saying he had an injured hawk in his yard. Bill called me and I went to have a look.

It was a nighthawk, out in the open grass, looking at us and not moving. When I went to check if it was alive, the bird flew 20 feet. It never got above 4' off the ground and soon landed on the neighbors front step. I asked about cats and the woman said there are several cats that roam the community. I know that these birds perched on tree branches and gravel roof tops, so it's behavior didn't cause me too much concern. For the safety of the bird, I gently covered it in a towel, put it in a well-ventilated cardboard box, and went to see Bill at the store.

Soon, we drove to the Navy Stadium to attempt to see if the bird was healthy enough to release. It flew, but not very far and not very high. I decided to recapture the bird and take it to a safer location at dusk for release.

Annapolis High School has big open fields and stadium lights. I met up with Lisa Strobel (of Warren and Lisa BIRDCOUPLE Stobel fame) in the fields behind the school. I figured that if the nighthawk flew, we could watch it hunt in the lights. Also, that is where I've seen COMMON NIGHTHAWKS very recently hunting in flocks at dusk. The lights at the stadium were on and the field nearby was large enough, where, if need be we could recapture the bird and get it help in the morning.

Again, the bird flew. But still, it was not very far and not very high. We walked over to it, and watched until it was just about dark. Still this hawk no desire to fly. There were at least thirty or more Chimney Swifts flitting above, so I knew the bugs were readily available for consumption. The bird did not move.

As I went to gently put a towel over it, figuring that a trip to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Newark. DE was my Saturday AM plans, the bird flew again. Again, it flew the same distance at the same elevation and then landed. But it was too dark and we could not locate the bird.

I will return tomorrow at daybreak to do some birding and see if this possibly injured bird is still in the field. I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy some photos and have a great weekend!

-Dan





1 comment:

Larry said...

I am anxious to get more views of these beautiful birds.-I remember seeing their silohuettes flying around as a kid, but only recently got a good look at their wing pattern in flight.-glad there are concerned birders keeping an eye on them!-Nice photo!

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