Celebrating the wildlife releases of the PAWS Wildlife Center
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by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist
In the July 30th, 2003 issue of Wild Again titled "Quantifying the Effort", I attempted to calculate how much time and effort had gone into caring for 17 baby birds that were treated and/or raised at the PAWS Wildlife Center. I calculated that the birds collectively had required nearly 10,000 hand feedings in the month leading up to their release. The number surprised me, but I have a feeling that the numerous Bird Nursery Caretaker volunteers that perform the bulk of the baby bird feedings here at PAWS might have thought the number I came up with was too low. Baby birds have seemingly endless appetites, and a Bird Nursery Caretaker's day consists of placing food in a never-ending series of hungry, gaping mouths. With the following series of photos, I have attempted to give you a look at several of our current avian patients as they are typically seen by a Bird Nursery Caretaker.
Some of the young charges are fairly polite. This fledgling Western Tanager sat still and simply opened his mouth when food was offered.
This young Steller's Jay was a bit more insistent at feeding time.
You really need sound to truly appreciate a hungry young crow. Not only do they vocalize to let you know they are hungry, they also make what can only be described as a "turkey-like" sound as they swallow the food.
Young birds, such as this American Robin, use a combination of vocalization and body posture to grab their parent's attention at feeding time. The bright colors inside the mouth, and thickened "gape flanges" at the edge of the bill also help to stimulate adult birds to deposit food.
This Dark-eyed Junco's technique was very similar to that of the robin, but note the subtle difference in posture, and the marked difference in mouth color.
This Red-winged Blackbird placed himself in an even more dramatic pose than either the junco or the robin.
This Bewick's Wren isn't shy at all about asking for a bite to eat.
This Black-capped Chickadee is a little more reluctant to come out into the open for his meal.
Less than two weeks ago, this Western Kingbird behaved in much the same way as the other birds featured in this issue. Now nearing the age of independence, he no longer gapes for food, and flies away if approached by humans. Soon he will be ready for release thanks to countless hours of care from the PAWS Bird Nursery Caretakers and other staff and volunteers.
Wildlife Release tally: June 23rd to July 5th, 2004
Wildlife Release tally: 2004
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