Grackle #115

25 May

grackle115I came home at lunch time today so I could take Rufus for a walk…or at least play with him in the yard. It’s nice living close enough to my workplace to be able to take a break like that now and then. While I was in the backyard with Rufus I heard a bird chirping loudly and insistently. Rufus was totally disinterested in the bird but I felt compelled to investigate.

It wasn’t long till I discovered a bird lying on its back under our holly tree. I went in for a closer look. It didn’t look as if the bird had been attacked by a predator but I was mystified as to how it had been injured. It wasn’t anywhere near the house so it was unlikely it had flown into a window pane. It seemed to be a juvenile but certainly not a fledgling that had fallen from a nest. I brought Rufus inside and began researching what to do for the little critter. I posted some photos and a query on two bird groups I belong to on Facebook. The birders quicky identified it as a Common Grackle. I also called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources who referred me to a wildlife center in nearby Columbia.

Luckily Judy Holzman, who operates the center, picked up on the first ring. She advised me to place the bird into a well-ventilated box lined with towels. She said to cover the box, secure the lid and place it somewhere warm where my pets couldn’t get to it. I did as she instructed but explained I had to return to work and that I’d bring the bird to her center after I got home from work.

When I did return home, I was fearful about what I would find when I opened the lid of the box. The grackle was still very much alive and alert but also still unable to support itself, much less fly. He remained on his back. I secured the lid back on the box and trekked on over to All Creatures Great and Small, Judy’s wildlife center.

Judy agreed that the bird is a young grackle and logged him in as Grackle #115. She seemed as puzzled as I was about how the bird had gotten injured. She weighed him and said he was underweight. She gave him some meds (I think it was amoxycillin) and placed him in a truss to keep him upright inside a cage.

Grackle #115 has plenty of company at the wildlife center—a room inside Judy’s home. The injured animal ward was lined with cages and crates. There was already another grackle there who had a visible injury to its breast. I also saw what looked like a chipping sparrow. Hard to tell because all the bird cages were covered with cloths, I presume to make the birds feel more secure. In a very large crate, not covered with cloth, were several squirrels.

Judy said she’d give my little grackle fluids and keep an eye on him for improvement. If he does recover, she’d like me to pick him up and release him in the same area where I found him. I do hope that comes to pass!

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2 Responses to “Grackle #115”

  1. Domenica Genovese May 26, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Lenora, that’s quite a story. It’s great that you have a wildlife center nearby. My first thought on seeing the photo is that the bird is victim of pesticide spraying. However, if that is the reason, there are usually several other bird victims nearby. Here’s to 115’s speedy recovery!

  2. JoAnn Genovese May 26, 2016 at 8:25 am #

    That is so awesome you found a place to take the bird! I hope he recovers.

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