My wife is a veterinarian and she was brought a fledgling kestrel (male) into her clinic that was dehydrated and weak. It also has a broken tallon. Anyway originally feeding it some cat food (liquid form with a syring), the bird responded. In the less than two days we have had it here we are catching grasshoppers, moths, anything we can find for it and it seems to be doing very well. It is now catching the food we release for it. It worries me that this bird is not yet ready to be released and we thought maybe we should keep it for a week or so just to make sure. A question i have is how much should we be feeding it? With regard to grasshoppers and moths, it seems to have an endless pit. Thank-you for any advice. We are just trying to make sure it does well so we can release it. It can't fly yet either.
Jeff, I must first commend you for your care and concern. But, my first and only suggestion is to find a wildlife rehabber that works with raptors as quickly as possible. I'm surprised that your wife doesn't already know this, but a rehabber with experience in working with raptors will be the best opportunity this bird's return to the wild. Cat food is the wrong kind of food to be feeding this falcon, grasshoppers are a bit better, and mouse or sparrow would work as well. But, get it to a rehabber quickly. -Joby
Post by bartimaeus on Jul 12, 2010 10:16:20 GMT -5
Thanks for the response. No we are not feeding it cat food anymore. It was used as a initial response and it worked. Just got back from the pet food store with meal worms and baby mice. Yes my wife did contact a wildlife rehab place but they wouldn't take it because they said at the moment they are at full capacity and can't take any more.
that last part in your statement is being heard all to often.
a little biology on this bird. the metabolism is very high maintaince. it needs alot of calories a day to survive, rodent is the best for a bird cause it gives alot of nutrients, chop it up fine so they can eat the bones also. Sparrow is also a good food, quail is a rich source of protein, but rat is cheap and best. can it fly? if so how well can it fly? if it can fly well i would start letting it outside as soon as you could to get it fit for flying. how long have you had it exactly, imprinting might be a concern if you have had it too long. these birds do not fly all day, they sit on poles and wait for their food, but it would still help if you had a flight pen or something to help get this bird fit. other than that, it sounds as if the bird is doing alright, just get it ready for release is the main thing.
Post by bartimaeus on Jul 12, 2010 13:33:42 GMT -5
Thank-you for your reponse. We have had the bird since Saturday morning. It was down and out when my wife got it into her clinic. She brought it home with her Saturday night so she wouldn't have to drive back to work to keep feeding it the rest of the weekend. By Sunday morning he had picked right up. We have been very careful to keep his stress levels down as much as possible. He can't fly yet and at this point his tail feathers are only about an inch or so long. He is very active though and I understand they won't have virtually any brown fat on them, so keeping him fed constantly will be the major priority. So far so good though. As for imprinting, I think that is too late. lol We just have to show ourselves and he gets all excited to be fed. He feeds on his own, catches the grasshoppers, etc, in his cage, or he will take them from my hand. I rather he catch them though. At the moment we have him in a 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3 foot mesh cage that is in a large lilac tree at the side of the front porch. He has various size uneven perches that he can perch on. We bring him in at night and cover the cage. If he continues to do well I will build him a flying area in the barn. We live in midwestern Ontario Canada. I'm thinking as soon as he starts to fly we can let him go? i don't want to keep him too long and I am trying to keep contact to a minimum. He is such a beautiful bird!!
Post by Master Yarak on Jul 13, 2010 6:52:45 GMT -5
It looks like the worst has passed. Judging by your description of his tail you may have him a bit longer than you might think. Giving him as much as he wants is your best bet. Feeding a whole carcass diet is paramount. Moreso now than at any other time. His bones and feathers all require calcium to develop properly. Birds and mice are best bet. I would also consider a high quality raptor vitamin in regular but very small quantities. Push come to shove I might even consider say a hammered up chicken wing. Pulverizing it so that all the bones can get consumed. Keep us informed on his progress. Yarak
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away
Post by bartimaeus on Jul 20, 2010 21:06:24 GMT -5
First of all I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and help. It has been much appreciated. I wanted to let you all know that the bird is doing very well thanks to that advice. Much thanks has to go to Mike. He is on a diet of lots of grasshoppers, dragonflies, praying mantases, pinky mice as well as live larger mice that he kills. Presently he is getting just about one mouse a day as well as the rest of his table fare. He is a bottomless pit but I figure as long as he wants it then that is good and we will make sure he gets it. I figure he is growing and as one of you have told me, he is a teenager. I remember how much I ate as a teenager. lol We have also given him a couple of leopard frogs that he hs killed and eaten. He is in a large mesh (window sreen) cage that I have lined with clean unprinted newsprint on the vottom and I have made sure he has several different sized perches high up. I am trying to protect his tail and give it a chance to fix its self. It was ragged at the bottom since we got him here. Next week I am going to make him a flying pen in the barn where he can practice. I'm hoping I can get him to go after live mice that way. I spray him down with a mist bottle lightly everyday as well. They are smart little creatures!
Anyway, I just wanted to keep you updated and thank you all for your advice. Thanks Jeff and family
I certainly hope I get to find out how this tale ends. Is my read of this correct - too young to be fly or be independent and broken talon, so a product of a broken home so to speak? It sounds like he was lucky enough to fall into good hands.
I just went outside to talk to my sweetheart on my cell on her break, and a kestrel shot across the canyon by our parking lot to kite over me for a moment, then worked her way around the canyon rim. I wonder if I'd had a glove and lure what would have happened. Or perhaps they hope that humans will scare up grasshoppers. I've seen cranes use horses and cattle for that purpose.
I wonder if I'd had a glove and lure what would have happened. Or perhaps they hope that humans will scare up grasshoppers. I've seen cranes use horses and cattle for that purpose.
For the first part: Nothing, it's a wild bird and doesn't know what a lure or glove is.
For the second part: Yup! Happens all the time, and can be a lot of fun to watch.
Last Edit: Sept 1, 2010 13:01:57 GMT -5 by tampamatt
"...no hobby should either seek or need rational justification. To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry, lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an exercise undertaken for health, power or profit." -Aldo Leopold
I guess I didn't make my thinking clear - I was wondering if it was a previously manned bird that had been released, and maybe still had some of the habits.
As for looking like a fool, I went from apprentice to master in that skill long ago ;-)
So in the future, whenever I'm in close proximity to a BOP, I'll stomp around trying to scare up game and generallly make a fool of myself in the interests of public service and raptor relations :-)
depends on when it was released and how well the person got it ready for release. if they did there job it wont go anywhere near you. cause you have a sense of humor please video stomping around with the BOP
I'll do that - I guess that would be okay for youtube.
I watched a crane harass one of my horses around the field - Old Ben was in his twenties, and knew what was going on, but he'd play along and would take a few steps and a kick and then pause. The bird would eat the bugs he'd stirred up, then the game would repeat.