This lovely Ruffed Grouse (also known as "forest chickens") came to Wild Things a few weeks ago. It had been sitting in one spot in someone's yard for a day and seemed slightly disorientated.
They managed to trap it in their garage and called WTS. When we arrived, it seemed quite alert, flying to get away from us, and he was very plump and in good body condition, but I still wanted to keep it under observation for a few days and test for parasites to make sure it was OK.
It did have some tummy parasites and appeared to be anaemic (with very pale gums and mouth), and he was very dehydrated. He had a few small healing injuries to the skin. And he wouldn't eat. I tubed him fluids (fluids via a feeding tube to the stomach), which seemed to make him a bit more alert but he still wouldn't eat. I wanted to get him a blood test but before I was able, he died.
I was upset about this as he was such a beautiful bird and I hoped he would be a great candidate for release. What caused his death? I am uncertain. Perhaps the small skin woulds were inflicted by a cat that also passed along its deadly bacteria. Perhaps he had a very heavy load of blood parasites. Perhaps he had some sort of internal injuries.
We will probably never know, but I hope that he at least had a peaceful last few days at Wild Things.
I find it harder to think that it could get any cuter than this! You have to remember that the "big" bunny is only about the size of a small-medium apple, so both of them together could fit into about half the palm of my hand! I was hesitant to put the newborn in with the older one, but as newborns are notoriously hard to keep alive, I thought I'd give it a go. Well, it looks as if they've adopted each other as big & little sister, and I hope this gives the little one a chance. She always finds her "big sister" to cuddle with and it must make her feel a lot more secure. Plus, there is a chance that she might pick up good bacteria from the older one that might help her digestion. They usually get this from mama's milk, but can also pick stuff up just from being around adults. If the little one makes it, by the time she is old enough for release, hopefully the bigger one will have recovered from her cat injuries, and I can release them together. Speaking of which, I believe that I have seen Mister Lopsided Bunny around WTS, and guess what? He's not so lopsided anymore! Amazing how sometimes being back in the wild can put the final touches on recovery!
Well this grand fellow is mighty pleased with himself that he has found a peanut! What you can't tell is that he's already loaded his crop with lots of other goodies. I know that there is an American crow nest nearby, and they love foraging in the WTS woods! But are very wary, and will take off at the first sign of anything. I did some work on feeding behaviour & tool use of New Caledonian crows, and plan to set up a similar test in the woods here to see if American crows are as capable at using tools!
Oh, and here's a better picture of the drumming male sexy Sapsucker. I am loving my new camera!
Almost forgot- look at this groovy lady who I was lucky enough to see in the WTS woods today: a Ruffed Grouse! I had never seen one before. It was about the size of a big chicken. I will have to look out for them more. Apparently the males do wonderful displays in leks, which would be super cool to see!