Monday, February 13, 2012

Two More Bald Eagles and a Great Horned Owl

Hello everyone. It was a busy weekend and we have a few more patients to introduce you to.

Photo above: This Great Horned Owl was found along a road near Wabeno, WI. Judging by size, we believe she is female. She has a broken left wing which has been taped to allow it to heal. We have high hopes that she will recover!

Photo above: This lovely male Bald Eagle, #013, was found here in Antigo, WI. People had been watching him on their property for about a week and he was unable to fly. He has an injury in the "wrist" joint in his wing but appears to be in fair health overall. Joint injuries are very difficult to overcome. His chances of survival are good, but he will likely be unreleasable.

Photo above: This lovely juvenile Bald Eagle, #012, was found in a field in Birnamwood, WI unable to fly. Licensed rehabilitator, Alberta Halfmann, is about to begin her examination.

Photo above: She has an open wound which you can see along the edge of the wing in the photograph. She was taken for x-rays this morning.

Photo above: The fractures in her metacarpals are from an undetermined source. It could possibly be from a bullet but we are unable to find bullet fragments. She is currently on antibiotics to help fight her infection.

Photo above: While I was looking at the x-ray of eagle #012 I noticed something a little funny; she appears to have two backbones. Knowing that this is impossible I looked a little closer. I have labeled the x-ray so you can read it easier. You can see the eagle's cervical (neck) vertebrae and the trachea. We know it is the trachea because on x-rays air shows up as black. The "second backbone" I saw was actually the caudal (tail) vertebrae of a muskrat the eagle had recently eaten as a meal! Birds store their food in a special compartment called the crop until it is ready to be digested. The muskrat body has already moved into the lower portions of the digestive tract while the tail remained in the crop! Pretty cool!

The Barred Owl, Eagles #007 and #008, and Juliet are all still doing very well! Thank you for your thoughts.

That's all for now. I am off to the Wausau School Forest for an evening program with Director of Education, Molly McKay. We have programs for the next three evenings in Wausau and Stevens Point. It is nice to see so many education programs on our calendar!

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update and the fascinating explanation of the muskrat tail!