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Portland Audubon’s education birds receive their annual exams

Posted by thunsdorfer at Jan 28, 2014 02:01 PM |
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Jan. 28, 2014: Portland Audubon's wildlife rehabilitation staff and volunteers work hard to give our education birds the best life possible, in part by providing top-notch medical care. They’re checked for common issues and weighed on a daily basis, and then once a year, each bird receives an in-depth exam.

Portland Audubon’s education birds receive their annual exams

Veterinarian Deb Sheaffer examines Aristophanes the raven's eyes - Tinsley Hunsdorfer

Portland Audubon has the honor of providing permanent homes to eight birds who arrived at our Wildlife Care Center with injuries or conditions too severe for the birds to be released back into the wild. They now serve as education animals – ambassadors for their species who help us teach the public about natural history, conservation, and how to coexist with wildlife.

Though we can’t replace a life lived in the wild, our wildlife rehabilitation staff and volunteers work hard to give the birds the best life possible, in part by providing top-notch medical care. They’re checked for common issues and weighed on a daily basis, and then once a year, each bird receives an in-depth exam.

Part of the exam is much like a human’s annual physical. Veterinarian Deb Sheaffer listens to the birds’ hearts, draws blood, and takes a close look at their ears, eyes and mouths. Other portions are less familiar: Deb also evaluates the birds’ feather condition, runs fecal tests to check for parasites, and closely examines the birds’ feet for signs of bumblefoot, a common condition in captive birds.

In addition, this year’s exams provided a good opportunity for each bird to receive a microchip of the kind used with cats and dogs. This is the best form of permanent identification for the birds, since the materials we use to handle them prevent us from banding the birds’ legs. A big thank-you to Cornell Center Animal Hospital for helping us with the microchips.

There was good news across the board in this year’s exams: There weren’t any surprises in the test results, the education birds are in good health, and the microchipping went well. Here’s to another healthy year for our education birds!

Learn more about our education birds:
Aristophanes - Common Raven | Finnegan - Peregrine Falcon | Hazel - Northern Spotted Owl | Jack and Lilly - American Kestrel | Julio - Great Horned Owl | Ruby - Turkey Vulture | Syd - Red-Tailed Hawk

Julio's annual exam - Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Veterinarian Deb Sheaffer listens to Julio the Great Horned Owl's heart - Tinsley Hunsdorfer
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