Long-term rehabilitation

June 23, 2024

Many birds found at this time of year, are a relatively "quick fix". Lots will be fledglings which need bringing-on, rearing with other orphaned and injured youngsters, so they can be returned to the wild as part of a group and not suffer with imprinting as so often happens when well-meaning people rear at home and then release a tame bird which cannot cope in the wild.

Occasionally however there are some long-term casualties such as the canada goose in this report. It was admitted to Meltham Wildlife Rescue with severe bite wounds to its back, rump and body ... and a gammy leg.

Under initial inspection the wounds although deep, would heal swiftly and thankfully were not infected so those have healed as expected. The leg however has proved a complex challenge and has been touch and go on more than one occasion.

This weekend I have reassessed it and determined that it now needs a course of one-to-one hydrotherapy in order to get those leg muscles built up again, and to stretch those tendons once more. It is finally able to weight-bear and walk short distances normally. We have had to keep it dry until now as the skin was so damaged that going in water sooner would have risked infection setting in. Hence, a spare bath was loaded up once I got home last night, and taken back over today; and as you can see, our patient has taken to it like ... well, a goose to water!

If all goes to plan now, I would hope that we can return this casualty back to the wild during July. All credit to Kathy at Meltham for her persistence with the birds' care, and willingness to try methods which while proven to me (over the past 46 years of working at Three Owls), do produce positive results but may seem strange if you haven't used them before.



Wild Bird Advice and information

Many people would help birds more, if they knew simple easy ways in which they could help wild birds, without going to too-much extra trouble. Often there are ways to help – that don’t actually ‘cost’ anything at all, but can make a huge difference to making birds welcome and safe in the environment around us.


One of the main causes of bird injuries (espec

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