Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15th, 2011

A Day In The Life of Pigeon

Ok as some of you may remember the first week I was here I met Pigeon outside of the clinic. Pigeon had arrived three days before I did. He was apparently orphaned in town and a little boy tried to raise him and then gave him to some tourists. The tourists could not care for him either so they brought him here. Ricky let him wander the grounds and gave him food but did not realize Pigeon was still a baby. Not only that but Pigeon had not been fed correctly as he was growing up and therefore he had a deformed beak. So poor Pigeon was in a sad state of affairs when I came across him that day. I decided to take him "under my wing" (ya sorry I couldn't help but say it : )  I set up an outdoor enclosure for him, I hand fed him formula every four hours, and I helped him preen since his beak was too deformed for him to do it himself. To give you an idea of how bad off he was, when I weighed him he was 173 grams. He is currently around 300 grams.

As Pigeon gained strength he would go farther and farther from his "house" during the day. However no matter what, he always went back inside in the evening and all I had to do was close the door behind him. He loved following Ricky and I around and begging for food, as a baby bird likes to do. He would nibble at out toes and strings on our clothes as we would weed the flower gardens and he loved to practice flying. He would get up off the ground about waist high and then go a few feet and land. He never strayed far from us and at first even short flights would tire him out.

Pigeon's feathers and beak slowly started to improve. For a while he looked pretty raggedy as he molted. He also learned how to pick up larger pieces of food with his beak. Eventually he got the seed thing down but he still begged to be hand fed for a few weeks. You know how kids can be, sometimes they just aren't ready to grow up ; )

So once Pigeon learned how to eat on his own and became less dependent on us we wondered what the heck to do next. Should we take him back downtown to live with the other pigeons? Should we keep locking him up at night or just let him do his own thing? Should we stop being nice to him so he will fly away on his own? Around the same time that we talked about these issues I witnessed a pigeon at the market downtown who had string and a long piece of metal wrapped around his foot making it impossible for him to walk. I tried to catch the poor thing but he kept flying away. I realized then that I couldn't take our Pigeon downtown and just leave him. He is way too friendly and way to curious about things. (On a side note, the following week I saw the pigeon at the market and he had managed to get the crap off of his leg but still had the limp).

So it was decided. Pigeon would live here until he decided it was time to move on. It seemed like he was set on staying close to his house and food dish. He would make the exception of venturing up to Jack's enclosure when we had visitors so he could coo at them as he peered down to say Hi.  That is until about a week ago. One day he either got bored, curious, or realized he could fly higher than six feet. He followed me to my room, he was on the roof of the kitchen, he was in the dining room, he was all over the place!

So you're probably wondering how Pigeon spends his days here at CASA. Well besides roosting in the office, following us around for hand outs, investigating what we are doing when we are in the clinic, he is also becoming a master of our mile long trail on the grounds. Today he followed me to fill up the bird bath. He stayed right next to me the whole way there stopping only to pick up bits of things to see if they were edible.  

After filling up the bath I decided to go back the way I came. As I walked Pigeon became more and more adventurous by flying into high up trees and not keeping within eyesight of me. I then got distracted and realized I was at the end of the trail but there was no Pigeon. I waited and eventually went back to look for him. No Pigeon anywhere. I made my way back to the clinic worried the whole time about my little friend that I have grown to love. 

Where is he? What could've happened to him? As all these thoughts raced through my mind I heard a very familiar coo and I looked up. Sitting on Jack's enclosure was Pigeon. Apparently I was taking to long on the trail and he decided to take a short cut. 
As I type this, Pigeon is sitting underneath the chair preening. After today's little escapade I realized that although Pigeon likes to hang out with us he is growing up. Eventually he will venture out and meet other pigeons and maybe not come back. And that's ok because he's a pigeon and I raised him so I know he is a tough little guy that doesn't mess around. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11th, 2011

So a few days ago a woman randomly showed up here. She was very upset and on the verge of tears. Apparently her beloved goose had become ill and no one could help her. She had been to the vet numerous times and tried all kinds of meds etc. Ricky tried to explain to her that we only do wild bird rehab but since we have basically no patients I figured I had time to talk with the woman. Apparently one day she came home and her neighbor told her that the goose had been in the pond for over twenty four hours. They got her out and realized she couldn't stand. if the woman lifted her to her feet she would stand and use her beak for balance but otherwise the goose could not stand up on her own. I honestly really didn't have any advice for this woman, especially if the vet had already looked her over. I explain this and then say it would be hard to tell anything without seeing the goose.
 "Not a problem, I brought her with me."
Yup, this woman was so desperate to get her goose help that she drove all the way here after hearing about us in town with her goose in hopes that we could help.
We take the goose out, kind of watch her and what not. I suggest arthritis maybe or capture myopathy. Also her diet was mainly just corn so maybe a deficiency of some sort. I end up giving the goose an injection of vitamins and giving the woman some cans of dried worms to add to the food. The woman is very thankful and the goose seems happy to be out on the lawn watching us chat.
 After she left I contacted a rehabber in the states who has geese and is amazing with animals. (Shout out to Jennifer Gordon! http://www.cwrescue.org )    She suggested a possible pelvic injury. Of course! This makes perfect sense since the woman said the duck seemed to be getting better slowly but not really. Pelvic injuries take forever to heal.
A few days go by and I call the woman to see how the goose is doing. The woman is ecstatic and tells me that for the first time in a month the goose got out of the pond on her own. Usually the woman puts her in and takes her out. Then she walked by herself up to the house. I was so excited. I swear with the way the week has been going I thought for sure the lady was going to tell me the goose was dead.
 I'm glad I got the opportunity to meet this woman and her goose. They were both very nice and definitely brightened up my day. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10th 2011

Ok so this post has nothing to do with Belize. It is just a bunch of pics of my adorable kitties. Wayne (their caretaker while I am here) took them out birding with him one day. Here are the pics that he sent me. The calico is Tilts and the Orange guy is Mastah Killah (MK for short). They are both indoor cats and rarely go outside except when supervised. Tilts is very shy and apprehensive and MK thinks he owns the place. Oh how I miss them so!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8th 2011

          We have had a Roadside Hawk here for a month now. He came in after being hit by a car and his wing and leg were completely shattered. Usually the decision would've been made to euthanize on the spot. However, the people who brought him here were willing to help with vet bills and build him an outdoor enclosure on their property since he would not be releasable. The first time I met them I was very put off. They couldn't quite understand what my purpose was for being here, I mean there's a vet so what exactly do I do was their question. I basically felt like a pile of garbage after that little interaction.
     Fast forward two or three weeks. They come by and see how well he is doing. They are super nice to me and seem grateful I am there to take care of our friend. 
     Fast forward to today.
 Actually back track.....two days ago the hawk started going downhill really fast. The vet came, I talked to rehabbers in the states looking for advice, thanks Monteen btw www.hawktalk.org, I force fed him, we put him back on antibiotics, I was getting up in the middle of the night and going to check on him etc. So today the vet comes again and so do the people. At first they are nice although they keep asking me the same questions over and over again "was he eating before?" "When did he stop eating?" "This just happened?  you didn't notice anything wrong?" etc. etc.   But they still seemed hopeful and said maybe he was just depressed or sad. They kept petting him which I never understand.  No matter how many times you tell someone that wild birds don't like to be touched it's always their instinct to pet and console them. 
      Then the vet arrives. We give him a bunch of vitamins, fluids, food, antibiotics, everything we can think of. I walk away to feed the other birds, the vet says she has to go, then the people come up and ask for their carrier they had left. Fine, ok, I go in to grab it and the woman is there obviously quite upset and I say to her through tears of my own " I am really really sorry." Now generally this is the part where I get some sort of " I know you did the best you could" or "At least we tried" etc. Instead she looks at me with the most disappointed look I'd ever seen and says "So am I." They walk out and thank the vet and give her a check to help her cover costs. Not only did they not give a donation to CASA, the place that has been caring for the bird for a month, they didn't even thank me or say goodbye. It was terribly disheartening.
    I went to my room and cried, I mean really cried. I mean I understand being upset, I really do, but did they ever take my feelings into consideration? I cared for this little guy for a month. They get to leave and be sad, I am here checking on him once an hour giving him fluids wondering if he will survive the night. As a rehabber it is terribly painful to lose an animal. No matter how many times it happens I sit back and look at every detail and wonder if I should've done something different. Sometimes I randomly shed a tear for an animal i lost years ago. But I do the best that I can and that's all I can do. Sometimes I don't know what people expect from me.
    Blah, and that was my vent for the day.
     To everyone out there who has cared for an injured animal, I admire you for making it look so easy

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 3rd 2011

Ricky found a hummingbird nest on the trail! It has two eggs in it and if we wait patiently it has a Rufous hummingbird mom sitting on them! I have already named them, Henry and Roberta are the babies to be and the parents are Theodore and Caroline.