Thursday, July 10, 2008

Updates: Hous, Houston 2, Lead Fledge, and 111th st. Kestrel Fledges

A look at Houston 2's throat courtesy of the Horvaths

And here's what hard working wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath has to say about Hous, Houston 2, and the Lead Fledge from the Cathedral, who are all in his and wife Cathy's care.

Houston 2 is doing much better and the majority of the infection is gone. A small amount still remains at the back of his throat but he looks 100 % better.

Hous 1 is holding his own , no worse and the Cathedral youngster is doing about the same with a small improvement in the usage of the feet but nowhere near ready to go outside .

Three cheers for the battling fledgling Red-tails! Excellent news!

Houston 2 is well on his way to getting his health back.

Hous (Houston 1) who didn't look like he'd make it another day, is holding his own. Yippee!

And it sounds like the big female fledgling who is suffering from lead poisoning is, though slowly, getting a little better. Good for her! Lead poisoning isn't for weinies.

111th st. American Kestrel, Falco Sparverious, photos also courtesy of the Horvaths

And more from Bobby about sibling Kestrels--

These pictures are of a pair of 6 week old kestrels from a nest on 111 st. and St. Nicholas Avenue. The first was found Monday and the sibling yesterday a block away .

The first (on the left) has a bad case of frounce which you can see is actually displacing the lower mandible from the infection and large growth in its throat. Parent kestrels will raid pigeon nests and bring the babies back to feed their own young . Baby pigeons are infected with frounce by their parents while crop feeding from them.


Not only is his mandible being displaced but the swelling is so bad he can't even look down.

And why was his brother picked up? Because as Cathy Horvath said to me the other day, "Kestrels learn to fly from the ground up".

Talk about fledging problems, I imagine there are very few good nest sites for Kestrel fledglings in New York City. Cavities tending to be at a premium, urban Kestrels often use cavities inside eaves or other little hidey holes in buildings for their nests.

Where do their youngsters end up when they fledge. On the sidewalk or street, running around looking for places to branch up. Neither spot being a safe place at all for birds who can't fly yet.

While his brother is being treated for frounce, the healthy fledgling will be learning his flying lessons.

Look at all the lesions in his throat and the instability of his mandible. That has to be dreadfully painful.

Also very ingenious way to get a look at such a small bird's throat or to get his mouth open for feeding if necessary

Photograph courtesy of Francois Portmann

Now and again, I get an email from a reader who points out that though when I write about birds and animals there are photos of them, but only very rarely does anyone get a look at the people that are being talked about. They then say that it would be nice to be able to see the people in their minds eye as well as the animals as they read about them.

Honestly part of the problem is that we rarely think to take a photo of the humans because we're so enthralled with the animals. But that wasn't good enough for reader Anthony Swain so luckily the other evening when we all went owling , Swiss photographer Francois Portmann did think of it and here is his wonderful photograph.

(Talk about Psycho Noir, I no longer question why we weren't bothered by any bad guys that evening. )

From left to right: South African naturalist and filmmaker Adam Welz, me, New York's own sharped eyed falcon watching James O'Brien of The Origin of the Species Blog (see links), Wildlife Rehabilitator Carol Vinzant, and the man who set up his camera for the shot, photographer, Houston Hawkwatcher, and my partner in crime in the Houston tiercel capture, Francois Portmann,

So Anthony are you satisfied now? Sheesh.

Donegal Browne


Eleanor, NYC said...

Wonderful improvements among the red-tails!

John said...

Good news about the red-tail fledglings. Frounce is such an ugly disease.

Katherine said...

Great news! We are pulling for all of them.

mona said...

Such good news! I'd heard of frounce but had no idea what a horrible disease it is, nor did I know it was so common. The suffering looks unbearable. Thank you for sharing these images.

Donegal Browne said...


I'm glad you were glad about the frounce photos. At first I was a little worried that perhaps they might be too graphic for some people. But I decided that the help the photos give in identiying a sick bird, they do their best to hide illness as we know, might well help someone to know a bird needed care immediately. So that overrode the possible "too graphic" issue. Better we might get a little grossed out now and the bird live later, right?

Karen Anne said...

I thought the photos were very informative. Thinking good thoughts for all the birds.

I guess some pain relief is out of the question, probably no one knows what's appropriate?

Human photos were nice too.