Thursday, September 6, 2007

Spunky Wounded Bird


This past Sunday (pre-Felix . . . it seems a very long time ago) we took the team up to the country property where we are building the mission center, and my daughter Kirstin found an injured baby bird. Kirstin has a Half Moon Conure for a pet, and she is pretty comfortable with birds, so she scooped it up and brought it home, hoping we might be able to save it.

My own opinion on injured birds is basically: "don't bother naming them, they rarely live anyway." We were able to tell right away that the little guy had a broken leg, and possibly an injured wing. We also noticed he had odd swellings in several locations on his body, and his back end looked weird. It was protruding, red and naked. But we know little about baby birds, and this one was right in the process of changing from his grey baby fluff to his feathers, so it was hard for us to tell what was unusual and what would be normal.

For the first couple of days, we simply kept him quiet, gave him food and water, and waited to see if he would live or die. But by Tuesday evening, he was looking pretty perky, and Kirstin was holding him and examining his bumps more closely.

Okay, here is the warning label: THIS NEXT SECTION IS GROSS AND DISGUSTING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Here is Kirstin, telling what happened:

I was looking at the swellings, and I noticed that on the ends of several of the swellings there was an indented spot. Inside the spot, the flesh appeared to be a different color. I decided that whatever it was, was not good, and so we decided to poke it with a needle.

I pinched at one end, while Rachel poked at the hole. The inside of the swelling twisted around, so I told Rachel to drag at it with the needle, while I pinched harder. And, a big, ugly, disgusting maggot-like worm came out.

Now that we knew what the swellings were, we proceded to pull five worms out of the bird. Four were white, segmented, and similar to a maggot in color, but fat at one end; the fifth was much larger and black.

Because the bird handled this operation remarkably well, we decided that we would deal with his broken leg the next day.

So, in the midst of the storm situation, Allen and Kirstin sat down and created a splint for the bird's tiny leg, using a shish-ka-bob stick and medical tape. Today, the bird is getting up on his legs just a bit, mostly using the injured leg for balance.

This morning, Kirstin found two more worm-swellings on the bird's belly, so she will be dealing with that issue later. I think these worms are probably the larva of a parasitical insect, but that is just a guess. If anyone wants to send us a more educated opinion about this, we'd be glad to get it.

Over the course of the few days we've had him, we've grown quite attached to this spunky little fellow. Today we started working on a name for him.

He may be called "Sae," which is Korean for "bird," or he might get the name "Felix."

Here is a picture of him from this morning. As you can see, as he loses his gray chick down, he is growing in some handsome golden feathers. Does anyone happen to be able to identify him for us?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh oh oh.. poor bird..
maybe the animals inside were aliens from other universe?

by the way, how is it looking for tomorrow's trip for Ko-ringgos?

Younggi

Trish said...

Thanks for that exceptionally reasonable response, Younggi! :)

Everything looks fine for the departure of the Koringos. Today is bright and sunny, and the group is doing ministry and construction. As long as the roads are clear, we expect no problems!

Aaron Ortiz said...

I'm suspecting flies laid their eggs on the bird when it was sick, maybe even bot flies.

La gringa posted twice about them, Here are the links:

Invasion of the body snatchers...

The Torsalo Fly

Trish said...

Thanks for these links, Aaron! I avoided actually looking at those when La Gringa first posted them. Now, it seems, the necessity for looking at them has been thrust upon me!

Trish said...

Aaron - I want you to know that I watched that video (well, I watched them pull out the first one), and the thing we pulled out of the bird does look quite similar, although I didn't notice any of those lines of hooks on our worm-things. Since we have two more to pull out tonight, lucky me, I will get another chance to check this out.

PS - that was gross.

La Gringa said...

Trish, I was about to give you the link to my Torsalo article but Aaron, as usual, beat me to it.

I'm going to send your article link to my Honduran bird expert, Daniel. I have no doubt that he will come and identify it!

I'm glad things have calmed down for you.

Trish said...

Thanks Gringa! Daniel and I have exchanged emails, and he has suggested that the bird might be a juvenile Oriole.

I hope he's a Baltimore Oriole, since I was born in Baltimore, but the chances seem a bit slim.