One of the woodcock in treatment. This species blends well with in on-the-ground habitat.
There is a pied-billed grebe with road rash. Woodcock with eye injuries. A killdeer that arrived completely emaciated and hypothermic. A cormorant with a fractured jaw.
Business is a bit unusual at the Minnesota Animal Rehabilitation Center in Roseville. First, our delayed spring caused problems for birds. Second, it also has significantly reduced the usual springtime number of baby squirrels and rabbits delivered for care.
Ten woodcock were admitted in the first few days of this month. Woodcock are early migrants.
All were injured in collisions with buildings, some in residential neighborhood, others downtown. One was DOA, six died after admission. Three were being treated for head trauma.
The surviving woodcocks were being kept in a large trays filled with purchased dirt stocked with purchased earthworms. Worms are the major part of the woodcock’s usual diet.
Woodcock migration is driven by hormones regardless of weather. They have already begun their courtship displays. They also eat insects and berries, so can survive until worms are available to their probing bills.
The killdeer had not been eating, mostly likely because this shorebird could not find food. It died after treatment with medication, fluids, and the warmth of an incubator.
The grebe scraped its feet when it mistook pavement for water, landing with a skid. It will recover.
The great blue heron was found struggling in snow, nowhere near water. It was scheduled for x-rays on Thursday.
The double-crested cormorant crash landed in the middle of a busy Bloomington intersection, Penn Avenue and 90th Street. A motorist brought the bird to the rehab center.
The bird was being fed through a tube on Thursday, the same day it was scheduled for surgery to insert a pin in its broken jaw. The jaw bone was found to be completely severed, however,. The cormorant was euthanized.
Tami Vogel, communications director at the center, said this bird was in beautiful breeding plumage. That means its mouth was lined with the color blue, its eyes circled by small dots of the same color, its body plumage tinged with bronze.
Vogel said the small number of squirrel and bunny admissions likely was weather-related, too.
The animals, most of them orphans, are there, she said, but no one is seeing them.
“People just aren’t outside right now,” she said.
One of the woodcock, on the other hand, was easy to see, described by its rescuer
as a mass of brown feathers on the white snow.
Vogel recounted two other recent admissions.
A house finch that arrived last week came with a $200 donation to the center, which is funded by donations.
“Another woman drove three hours to deliver a robin,” Vogel said. “She made a $1,000 donation before she left.
“People do amazing things for wildlife.”
This woodcock was being prepped for an x-ray.
Below, an eye exam for an injured woodcock.
All photos were provided by the Minnesota Animal Rehabilitation Center, Roseville