The female hawk died yesterday. We made the decision to euthanize her (put her to sleep) after our veterinarian was able to get a good look into the cavity created by the trichamoniasis infection. As previously mentioned, trich creates a hard white plaque. In the case of the raptor cap bird, the plaque extended from the roof of the mouth all the way up into the right eye. We knew from x-rays that there was at least some bone damage. We were hopeful because the infection was subsiding and she was self-feeding and putting on lots of weight. However, by yesterday, the medications had worked to the point where Dr. Sheaffer could get a good look up into the cavity created by the infection. Without going into too much graphic detail, there was very extensive damage--significant amounts of dead bone and tissue----the jaw and upper mandible basically were coming apart. That type of damage makes a a reasonably successful life in captivity or the wild impossible. We will send the bird off to an avian pathologist that we work with for further analysis.
Obviously not the ending anyone was hoping for. I know that it is tough after you all have been tracking these birds for so long...since they were eggs. I do still get regular reports about red tails being sighted flying in the vicinity of the nest, although it is not entirely clear whether it is the parents or the sibling. I'll try to get don there this week to see if I can spot him. The first year of life is very challenging for most birds including birds of prey and the post fledging period is the most hazardous part of the process. To a large degree this is true regardless of whether they are located in the city or on more rural landscapes. I know that doesn't necessarily help...It is just to say that we have tried to let raptor cam be an unedited look into the lives of a pair of local red-tails. Sad endings are sometimes part of the story. I appreciate all the folks who have been tracking this bird and who sent kind thoughts over raptor cam.