Birds on the mend
|Red-tailed hawk recovering after four surgeries|
Life as a wildlife rehabilitator never stops. Debbie Pappas, whose clinic is out in Carbonville has been busy this winter nursing injured birds back to health.
The Red-tail Hawk (which was featured in the Sun Advocate back in December following an operation) is on the road to recovery. The hawk came in initially Nov. 2, 2004 and so far has received four surgeries, the last one just last week. All pins and apparatus have been removed from her leg but the bone is still fragile and no physical therapy can start for another three or four months, says Pappas. "We give supportive care and monitor her leg," explains Pappas, adding, "she's a fighter." Although the hawk was shot authorities still have no news on who shot her.
A sandhill crane came in December from Huntington. Although it was not injured, it was very thin. "We treated her for an infection and provided supportive care, like feeding, monitoring of weight and all other needs," says Pappas. She also arranged with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, to take her for a short period of time since they have a 100-foot flight cage and the crane needs a lot of room to exercise. She should have migrated with the rest of her flock, but because of the lack of strength she couldn't. "We suspected she was not feeling well and that's why we started her on antibiotics. She was then transported to southwestern New Mexico and released in an area where there are thousands of Sandhill's wintering," she says.
Pappas and one of her sub-permittees found a great-horned owl Dec. 23, while they were traveling to the veterinarian's office in Payson. He was found in the red-narrows area in Spanish Fork Canyon. He appeared to have a head injury and could only fly short distances just above the ground. "We stopped and caught him and took him in with us. He has some balance issues that we thought were minor, but he will need an x-ray to determine why he is still having problems," she explains. He eats well and seems fine other than obvious trauma to the head which has effected one eye.
As a wildlife rehabilitator, Pappas' program is not funded by anyone. "We pay for the animals' vet expenses and all the food. Everything comes out of our own pockets," she says.