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ClaireinTX ClaireinTX is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 161

Sick fledgling grackle


Hi All,
My neighbor just called me over to get a fledgling grackle from her yard and try to find it some help. I'm waiting to hear back from the wildlife rescue folks here in town.

In the mean time:
It is a fledgling. It's sibling was nearby following Dad around and getting fed. This one, however, is not well and unable to even ask for food and the adult birds have been ignoring it all day.
I'm guessing it's dehydrated and hungry. I have it in a carrier with a hot water bottle. I am reluctant to offer it anything, though, b/c it seems too weak to take it and I would hate for it to aspirate.

The little guy had managed to get itself between some buckets on my neighbors porch so as to be less noticeable to predators, but she was still worried her cat would get it. She said it took it a long time to work its way over and it seemed to be pushing along with only one leg. She thought the other was broken. When I examined the bird, though, it seemed to have strength and movement in both legs.

It seems to have some crusty yellow stuff on its wing. It's hard to tell, but there may be an injury there. There are no feathers in one spot close to the body, but it seems symmetrical on both sides and the skin doesn't seem to be broken. There was also a bit of this yellow stuff on its head, but no broken skin or even missing feathers there.

It's clearly weak. It manage to flap and try to flee when I examined it, but has since been sitting with one or both eyes closed. It can open both eyes, though. It hasn't made a sound.

Here are my questions:
1.) Since I may not be able to get this animal to a professional until tomorrow at 10am, what signs should it be exhibiting before I offer nourishment?

2.) What (if any) should the nourishment be? (I have on hand Kaytee formula mix in the freezer, dog food, pigeon seeds.)

3.) Any ideas of what his problem might be? Are there some common ailments that present like this? The only med I have on hand is Medtrich, but perhaps there is some other "triage"-type treatment that could help?

4.) Is having this bird in my house, even temporarily, going to put my two rescue pigeons at risk for catching whatever this guy might have? I'm hoping since it's nest-mate seemed healthy, whatever this is isn't contagious. They are not in the same room with him.

Thanks,
Claire
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ClaireinTX ClaireinTX is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 161

UPDATE: rescue won't take it.


Got the little guy over to our local wildlife rescue organization and they won't take it. The intake person agreed that the little guy is very weak and possibly sick. When I told the intake lady that I hadn't given it any food or water she said, "Good. That would orphan it for sure." She didn't mention that feeding might harm it, just that it would make the animal unable to fend for itself.

It flapped its wings and struggled a bit when she examined it and even opened both eyes, so that's a good sign, I guess. But it has only moved two times since my neighbor had me pick it up several hours ago and both were when it was being examined and was fearful. And it hasn't moved since.

The intake person didn't really comment on the yellow stuff and just told me to put it back where it was found. She did say that it didn't look injured.
She said that if it's too weak and can't survive, that's just what has to happen.

My neighbor already said she just can't stand to leave it in her yard with no protection and watch it starve to death or get eaten (which I totally understand). I'm at a loss for what to do. It's getting weaker.

-Claire
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spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Country: United States
Posts: 20,303
do you have a medicine dropper that is clean, mix some sugar and salt with water and see if you can dropper it in it's throat..in the back part go down like if a parent was feeding it in it's mouth..and squeeze..to give it some hydration.. if he makes it.. he can be fed moist cat food that you ball up on the end of a chop stick or something similar.. if he gets strong enough he will open his mouth for the feedings.. I will look up the starling forum for more input and a link.

Last edited by spirit wings; 30th April 2012 at 05:46 PM..
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spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 05:45 PM
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Country: United States
Posts: 20,303
here is a link for some information.. I hope you can take over his care as of right now.. I know he is a grackle but their needs are similar
http://www.starlingtalk.com/

Last edited by spirit wings; 30th April 2012 at 05:52 PM..
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spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 05:55 PM
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Country: United States
Posts: 20,303
he needs to be warmed first..if you can .. a heating pad under him on low..under the container he is in.. or a sock with dried rice in it heated in the micro for about 50 to 70 seconds..tie it at the end of course and make a doghnut shape and put him in it. reheat when needed.
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ClaireinTX ClaireinTX is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 161
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help. Spirit Wings, you have really helped me in the past with my two rescues. You're a peach!

I put two bottles filled with hot water in his carrier when I first got him. After about an hour, he managed to move himself away from them toward the back of the carrier. Now that it looks like he'll be a guest for a bit longer, I've put him in a dog bowl with a nest of tissue under him and refreshed the hot bottles. They are farther away from him, but still keeping the carrier warm.

I put the carrier in a laundry basket so that I can remove the top when needed to feed him.

I think the warmth helped. He's sitting up now and seems stronger.

I have some (good quality) dog food soaking and an egg on to boil. I can see if my neighbor has any cat food.

Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at it right now. Over the years, we've had a couple of successful babies and one last spring that didn't survive. This is our first grackle and i hadn't been able to find much info on them. It helps to know that they are similar to starlings.

Thanks again,
Claire
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spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 30th April 2012, 06:33 PM
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Country: United States
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you are welcome!.. sounds like he is in good hands.
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ClaireinTX ClaireinTX is offline
Posted 1st May 2012, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 161

UPDATE: made it thought the night, but...


Well, the little guy made it through the night. Once he figured out that was food coming at him, he ate quite a bit last night. He even hopped around a bit. He was doing so well last night that I thought we'd be able to take him back to where we found him and wait for his parents this morning.

He made it through the night but seemed a bit weaker this morning. He had eliminated quite a bit during the night. Some of it was watery, but I'm thinking that was b/c of the stress, watery food, etc. It didn't stink like diarrhea.

The sun has been up for abt 3 hours and he's hardly eaten anything and hasn't pooped again from the bits I got down him at dawn.

I don't know whether to force the feeding or not. Don't want to stress him, but do want to help him get stronger. Last night, he actually opened his beak and swallowed the food. I was able to feed him with my fingers. (He's fully feathered.) This morning, he opened his beak only a bit and when I finally got the food in, he'd just work until he shook it completely out. Then he seemed even more drained after expending his energy to spit it out. It is as if the food tastes bad or he can't swallow.

I want to add, he's been in my care for almost 24 hours and has not made even one peep--not even when he was eating well last night. Maybe he's mute? I'm afraid it means that he's seriously weak and ill.

Do I push it with the food? Maybe I should try a bit of the Kaytee formula? I hate to see the little guy starve but I don't want to make his suffering worse by forcing him to eat if his body just can't handle it.

Help?
Claire
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ClaireinTX ClaireinTX is offline
Posted 1st May 2012, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 161
He passed. I'm hoping it was inevitable and nothing I did harmed it further.
I guess that's always the issue when trying to "help" Mother Nature.
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Dima Dima is offline
Posted 1st May 2012, 05:21 PM
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You did your best.
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spirit wings spirit wings is offline
Posted 3rd May 2012, 06:44 AM
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Country: United States
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oh poo!.. so sorry. he was acting sick out where he was found so it probably was a matter of time..at least he got some food and did not pass hungry.
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