The little guy moves so fast, he's hard to photograph. He's actually hanging upside down in the photo!
Hit a window today, but after some rest, water (notice his wet chin!), and some tasty insects, I will most likely release tomorrow.
Double Breasted Cormorant.
Luckily for this juvenile, he was uninjured, but cormorants, loons, grebes, and coots all need water to take off for flight, so every once in awhile they just get stuck on land.
This commonly happens after a rain storm, when they misjudged a puddle for being much deeper than it really is.
All they need is water and once again they can be on their way!
As wildlife rehabilitator, we struggle with tough decisions all the time. It is our ultimate goal to release all wildlife that comes into our care back into the wild. Sometimes they are with us for just a few days, sometimes a few months.
Making the best decision for each animal is our goal, and sometimes this means making the extremely difficult decision about whether or not to euthanize. We don't ever make this decision lightly, but we do make it for the best interest of the animal, leaving (as best we can) our own personal emotions out of it.
Sometimes we can find permanent placement for some as educational animals, but we have to take into serious consideration if that is the right decision.
The animal will be caged for the rest of its life, is that fair? Is it humane when their instinct is to be free?
Are they a social animal? Will they be lonely and eventually get depressed?
We do our best with making these decisions, only guessing as to what each animal may be feeling.
Each euthanasia case is unique, and I really try to make the best decision I can.
This beautiful a Franklin Gull came into my care with a broken wing fracture that was beyond repair. The only option would be to amputate and if possible, find permanent placement. Over the course of a week, he just paced and refused to eat. You could tell he was unhappy, and knew that living in a cage was not for him. After much consideration, and opinions from fellow rehabbers, I felt this guy was not a good candidate for living caged the rest of his life. Gulls spend most of their time flying, coasting over water, and typically with other gulls.
Living trapped in a cage, never flying again, was not a fair option.
So with a heavy heart, I let him go, hopefully to be free and flying once again in his next life.
In early May, this beautiful barn swallow arrived at @iowabirdrehab with a bad shoulder. This type of injury typically heals poorly, especially with migratory birds and aerial insectivores. While it's unknown how the bird was hurt, most likely she had just returned to Iowa after spending the winter in Central and South America, and was preparing to nest and raise young in Iowa for the summer.
One of the most acrobatic of all North American bird species, barn swallows feed on insects almost exclusively in flight, so perfect wings are essential for their survival. After 3 months in rehabilitation, she was finally well enough to be released in mid-August, and is flying free again! Hopefully she will feed well in the Iowa skies and gain some strength over the next few weeks before starting the long journey back south for the winter.
Iowa Bird Rehabilitation (IBR) admits all types of birds year round, from tiny hummingbirds to giant pelicans and everything in between. As word spreads of the work they do, their patient numbers have increased, and this year IBR expects to take in around 600 birds. The work is all volunteer and they receive no state or federal funding. The goal is simple but challenging: to rehabilitate and release all wild birds that come in.
To see a video of this barn swallow, check out @natgeo!
Cliff Swallow. Searched, via canoe, for the perfect release site for this handsome fellow. The evening was quiet, the water still, reflections clear, and the sky filled with birds