Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Big Red.

A large bird of prey was found grounded at Cawthorne Roman Camp, Pickering on a cold Saturday evening. Luckily Colin Dillcock a raptor worker was walking his dog in the area and gathered the bird up and brought him here.
The bird,a last years male Red Kite, was dopey and cold. I tubed him with warm re hydration fluid and left him to rest under a heat lamp.

Next morning he was still alive , still daft and sat on the floor. I tubed him again and left food in the warm shed.

The next morning I took him over to Battleflatts vets in Strensall for Andy Forsyth to see. Andy is an experienced bird of prey vet and he gave him a thorough examination. Here he is having a look at the back of the eye.

 This x ray shows his skeleton was intact , there was no sign of trauma, no shot, no fractures or wounds.
The birds plumage was immaculate and his feet were clean and pristine.
What ever had happened to him had been quick and sudden.
North Yorkshire has a terrible reputation for bird of prey poisoning and looking at this big birds predicament leads me to think that this Red Kite had been poisoned.
One of the illegal substances used is alphachlorose, it stupefies birds and drops their temperatures. If the victim is found quickly enough then keeping them warm and giving lots of fluids can save their lives.
 The bird improved over 2 weeks ,ate heartily and was moved into an aviary .
Red Kites are odd birds to care for, they have a tendency to sulk under stress and it can be difficult to tell when they are ready to go. I rely on observation and a knowledge of big birds of prey here in rehab.
I went into the aviary to feed him after a fortnight and he clearly expressed his readiness to leave !
I was reluctant to return him to Pickering and after speaking to Craig Ralston of N.E. one of the best birders I know, he was released onto the NNR near Wheldrake.
He was BTO ringed by Mike Jackson and took to the big blue skies once again. To see him soar and own the sky was a moving and uplifting sight, I'm a lucky woman.

Later on that same day Craig saw the Kite on a goose carcass on the reserve.
I can ask for no more.

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