Numerous inquires about the Brown Pelican that presented with numerous problems including a treble hook in his mouth and the Osprey with the burned feet and feathers has prompted this update. “Buddy” the pelican (as named by his rescuers) is now healthy and strong. The old badly healed wing break still prevents him from being released into the wild, but Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville is still waiting for Buddy and his two companions. All they are waiting on is paperwork and a ride. The Osprey whose feathers and feet were burned (perhaps by a flare) is holding her own. She doesn’t like the same type fish that the other fish eating birds adore, so a volunteer frequents a fish market for tempting meals. While she’s not out of the woods yet, we are very hopeful.
Saturday, November 7, 2009 an Osprey came to the WR&E Wildlife Center with burned feet and feathers. It is not known if the burns are thermal, electrical or chemical. No matter the cause, the feathers are damaged and she will be with us until after she molts. Feathers are like hair and fingernails, they are non-living structures that arise from living tissue. Once damaged, they cannot be repaired. Lost feathers are replaced immediately, but most damage must wait until the annual molt. Other bird species rotate between breeding and non-breeding plumage via a complete or partial molt. Therefore, the Osprey could be with WR&E for quite a while. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are a large fish eating raptor with a wingspan of 6 feet! It is a fierce looking bird with white breast, belly, forehead and crown with black (or very dark brown) back, wings and mask across yellow eyes. Juveniles have more mottled plumage and orange eyes. The Osprey in our care has a "necklace" of darker feathers. This is an indicator that the raptor is female. It is not conclusive, but this marking occurs much more frequently in females. Considered a hawk, it has very unique features that make it a specialized hunter. The Osprey can dive feet first up to three feet into the water and lift fish that weigh almost as much as it does! The undersides of the feet are covered with short, sharp spikes called spicules that vastly improve grip. Unlike other hawks and eagles, the Osprey has one toe that can rotate forward or backward (like an owl’s) to adjust the grip of a strike. The nostrils are thin slits that can be closed when diving. It has the [...]