Not much has changed with the fledgling that is recovering at Audubon's Wildlife Care Center. He will return to the optamologist nest week to assess the degree of progress in his injured eye. Right now he is being housed in a small cage to keep his movement to a minimum in order to let the eye recover.
People have wondered about whether his parents will accept him back after all this time. The answer for right now is most likely yes. They are still taking care of the other fledgling (Thanks to Elisabeth and others for your updates regarding the other fledgling--sounds like she is doing fine!). As long as they are taking care of the other fledgling they will remain in parenting mode and our recovering bird should be able to insert himself back into the process. However the longer he remains in captivity, the further behind he will fall in terms of conditioning and skills. His sibling will be way ahead of him. I am comfortable with a 1-2 week split but not much more than that. We will know a lot more early next week when he goes back to the ophthalmologist. If he is looking at another couple of weeks in captivity prior to release, we would probably have to go with training him to hunt in a flight cage.
So folks have also asked about how this situation differs from the nestling that was sick and died in the nest earlier in the season. As per prior bog entries--it is a continuum in terms of when we interfere. We tend to be more likely to interfere when the problems are directly caused by human activity and less likely to interfere when the problems are more natural in nature. I see a pretty big difference between helping an animals that is lying on the side of the road injured after being run over and going into a nest and taking a sick bird away from its parents. I went into greater detail on this topic in an earlier blog.
For those interested in learning more about birds, I encourage you to check out the Lost Bird Project. Audubon will be installing five statues of North American bird species that have gone extinct down at Waterfront Park this week. There will be cool activities for the whole family next Saturday, June 24th. The species being featured are the Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk, Heath Hen, Labrador Duck and Carolina Parakeet. All five of these birds were wiped off the face of the earth because of human indifference. The Passenger Pigeon was once the most numerous bird on the continent with flocks that would fill the sky for miles and miles (in many ways comparable to the great herds of bison that once roamed the plains). Wanton killing drove this species to extinction in the matter of a couple of decades. Today there is some cause for hope---visitors to the waterfront can look up and see three species, peregrine DDT but which are recovering today because people cared enough to take action. However, we also still have a long way to go. Today one out of every four species that passes through our state is experiencing significant long term declines. Will we be smart enough and have the resolve to make the changes necessary to reverse these trends as we did with the peregrine falcon or will species of will we one day add to the statues being erected in Waterfront Park this week?