Posted: July 26, 2021 | 10:20 am
Have you ever wondered how about the Abilene Zoo Bird Rehabilitation Center’s patients? Like how many we get, what the coolest bird we have ever gotten in before, or how we help outpatients return to the wild? With our patient of the month blog, we will be highlighting some of our patients and giving you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to send these birds back home.
“Grackle 77 was too young to survive on his own and didn’t even have all his feathers yet!”
If you’ve driven anywhere in Abilene you’ve seen a Great-tailed Grackle walking in a parking lot, front yard, or park. These abundant black birds are either loved for their loud social calls or hated for their love of agricultural fields and products. Our July patient is a very special patient that overcame the odds in order to return to the wild!
This particular Great-tailed Grackle was patient number 77 for the year. As an early admission to the Bird Rehab Center, he was a victim of summertime tree trimming. His nest was cut down from a tree but he was luckily brought to our center to continue growing. Grackle 77 was too young to survive on his own and didn’t even have all his feathers yet!
This ugly baby spent about 1 week in our special incubators while he finished growing in his feathers. Once his feathers had grown in he was ready to move to a larger cage to learn how to fly. Grackle 77 began walking around and picking up food on its own but we quickly learned that it had a broken toe. The toe was splinted and he received antibiotics for any possible infections.
Sadly after a week of treatment, the toe still did not heal and the pain associated with jumping was preventing him from flying. The decision was made to amputate the toe to improve his quality of life and after a month and a half of care, Grackle 77 was released back to the wild with a lot of new feathers and one less toe.
If you want to help birds like Grackle 77 please refrain from trimming and cutting down trees during the months of May- September.
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Many species of birds including grackles, blue jays, robins, doves, owls, and all hawks nest in trees and trimming during nesting seasons removes important nursery space for birds to learn and grow in.