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Bird Down

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on July 1, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

The female fledgling is back at Audubon. We received a call midday today from Northwest Natural which is located only 4-5 blocks from the nest site. They informed us that a hawk with a band on its leg was perched on a railing outside their second-story windows. The hawk looked unsteady and appeared to have a swollen eye. By the time we drove down to see what was going on, probably on about 20 minutes later, the hawk had tumbled from the second story to the sidewalk. NW Natural employees covered the hawk with a cardboard box and stood guard over it until we arrived.

She is in very poor condition...a far cry from when we had her last. She is suffering from a protozoan infection known as trichomoniasis. This is a disease that is very common in pigeons and it is not uncommon for hawks, especially young hawks, to pick it up when they prey on pigeons. Many hawks fight off the infection and are fine, but in some cases, the infection can become quite severe. Trichomoniasis manifests itself as a white cheesy plaque in the mouth and throat. In severe cases it can eat away at the surrounding tissue, fill the crop and digestive track and inhibit breathing and swallowing. This is a very nasty infection and the bird has lost a couple of hundred grams since we saw her last, probably about 1/4 of her body weight. The infection goes up into the roof of her mouth and appears to extend all the way up into her right eye which is very swollen. Her exam this afternoon was very limited---we focused on getting fluids into her and stabilizing her. Tonight she was standing and we started adding some calories to her diet. She will spend the night in an intensive care unit. Tomorrow our vets will give her a full work-up and see what can be done.

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