During what is typically a quiet time of year in the clinic we welcomed three red-tailed hawks back-to-back. Once cleared from the ICU, and then the flight-restricted enclosures, these medium sized raptors need enough room to spread their wings and get stronger. Each of the three hawks have different injuries that will heal at different times. With only two suitable enclosures at the moment we had to get creative. Luckily, red-tailed hawks often co-habitat. Armed with that knowledge, Animal Care Manager, Jen Osburn-Eliot, moved two of the hawks together. But before that could happen the patients have to moved from their current enclosures and rotated quickly so as to not stress them out… hence the musical chairs… except in this version everyone gets a seat.
The new roommates have very different injuries. One is recovering from a fractured metacarpal and the other has significant feather loss. Both of these injuries take a substantial amount of recovery. When first placed together the two were a bit… standoffish, you could say. However, within 24 hours the birds were perched together and seemed quite comfortable with the others’ presence.
The third red-tailed patient is recovering from bumblefoot. This happens when bacteria causes an infection and inflammation on the pad of a birds foot (between the talons). This can often occur when a bird doesn’t have a variety of surfaces and textures to perch on. Left untreated bumblefoot will cripple a bird and lead to death. Because of the infection, this patient takes a medication twice a day and thus, requires his own enclosure.
As of right now, all three patients are doing well and meeting the benchmarks of recovery. We hope to bring you an update soon.