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7/ 7/09 Update

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on July 7, 2009 at 11:58 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 12 at 1:33 PM

The female hawk is doing significantly better. The swelling in her eye is much reduced and she is eating very well. She has added about 100 grams to her weight. She does however face some significant challenges: Our veterinarian took and x-ray of her jaw. It is clear from the x-ray that the bone in her lower jaw has been compromised from the infection. There may be very little that we can do about this other than simply clear up the infection. Her beak is somewhat misaligned. This could either be a result of swelling associated with the infection or it may have to do with the damage to the bone. This would not necessarily keep her from being released but it could cause her some problems down the road.

There were some questions about birds and fireworks--specifically whether fireworks disturb nesting birds. The answer really varies from case to case and species to species. Most birds find a spot to roost at night and then stay put regardless of what is happening around them. Birds are at a huge disadvantage to nocturnal predators such as coyotes and great horned owls. If they start moving or flying about they make themselves all the more visible. Generally they roost in places that reduce their silhouette such as up against a structure or the trunk of a tree. They may be a little stressed by the explosions, but generally they are just going to hang tight and wait it out. It is hard to say how differently a bird might perceive fireworks from say thunder and lightening. We do occasionally see nestlings jump prematurely during firework displays. This my be a "startle effect." I don't tend to worry too much about fireworks on urban landscapes ---primarily I worry when the fireworks are either very close to a designated natural area or in close proximity to imperiled species. Several years ago I got to monitor the peregrines that nest in the Interstate Bridge to determine whether they were disturbed by the massive Vancouver fireworks display. The birds showed no discernable response but we did get to watch a good show.

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