Photograph by Francois Portmann
Atlas the Triborough Nest Dad, who with Mom Athena, fostered Houston as if he were one of their own while he was in their care.
Houston and Houston 2 Photographs Courtesy of the Horvaths
This is a view of some of Houston's (H1) Frounce lesions or as they are called in the UK, frounces. They are often described as being caseous, or cheesy. The causative agent of this disease is a flagillated protozoan called Trichomonas gallinae. The same disease in pigeons, doves, and poultry is called Canker or Roup. (Though there are other avian diseases which also have very similar lesions making it difficult to diagnose immediately.)
Birds may become riddled with caseous necrotic foci, or "yellow buttons". See back right of Houston's mouth.
The lesions may invade internal organs such as the liver, may block the throat, nasal passages, encroach within the skull, and/or fill the croup. It is a dreadful disease though virulence of the causative agent can vary.
Called Canker when it attacks pigeons and doves has been studied in Columba, therefore the incubation period and activity is known for the illness in pigeons but not for hawks. A healthy pigeon may be exposed to a less virulent variety of canker and develop some immunity against it and more virulent strains when they appear. The same process may occur in hawks explaining less disease in older birds.
The disease as I suspected from observation of pigeons strikes more often in hot weather or when birds are stressed.
A note from rehabber Bobby Horvath who is caring for Houston and H2: "In addition to what you can see in his mouth there is much more down his throat, under his jaw, and in his crop that we can feel which makes his case much worse than Hous " 2 " . This is why he is so thin presently. He has a hard time swallowing anything solid so Cathy is mixing him up a meal of the blended smoothie type which is tubed into his crop. He's also getting flagyl, sprartrix, and baytril ."
July 5-- Once again and still, Houston 2 is eating on his own. The Horvaths report that H2 has improved but "he's still not out of the woods".
H2 looks to be eating with energy.
Compare H2's lesions with those of Houston's (H1). These have lost some of the "cheesy" (caseous) look so apparent in Houston's only newly treated cankers. H2 has been treated with flagyl, sprartrix, and baytril for nearly a week now and it has taken some effect. Keep your fingers crossed.
While we have been swept up with the drama of the Houston and D fledglings, Thunder on her TV tower, frounce, foster parenting in Red-tails, tracking down Houston in Astoria Park, and the appearance of lead poisoning in the Cathedral fledge, other birds in town have been going about their lives and everyday dramas. And photographer Eleanor Tauber has been recording them doing it. Here is a Great Egret in Turtle Pond.
Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
Photograph by Eleanor Tauber