E-mail This Article

Check the bird first

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Jun 20/01) - A Manitoba wildlife specialist has some advice for anyone trying to rescue an injured bird on the land this summer.

Lisa Tretiak, rehabilitation director with the Manitoba Wild-life Rehabilitation Centre in Glenlea, said the first thing to determine is whether the bird is dangerous before touching it.

Tretiak said hawks, owls, eagles, and cranes are better left alone and if found a wildlife officer should be contacted immediately.

"(Predatory birds) have dangerous claws," said Tretiak. "Herons and cranes will try to poke eyes out," she said.

But if the bird isn't dangerous she suggests putting it in a cardboard box and then contacting an officer.

Currently the centre is working with a rough-legged hawk a family from Arviat came across in 1998.

According to Tretiak, a family found the hawk as a fledgling and decided to raise it. Once mature, the family let it go but the hawk didn't know how to hunt and "went around begging for food."

The hawk is still at the centre being taught to hunt. As a result, Tretiak said it's better not to take baby birds home if found on the ground. It's better to put them back in their nest or at least close by.

Tretiak said birds will generally adopt fledglings of the same species even though it's not of the immediate family.

Also if a bird hits a window, Tretiak said it should be put in a cardboard box and left in a dark room for two hours then released.

"The bird usually gets a concussion, so it's better if they get oriented," she said.

When a bird has a concussion, according to Tretiak, it becomes paralysed and will become agitated.

The darkness calms the bird and allows for a faster recovery.

Tretiak's centre received a white tundra swan last September from Rankin Inlet with a broken leg. Some local children had thrown rocks at it, breaking its leg. It died 30 minutes after surgery.

Tretiak said the swan couldn't handle the anaesthetic needed for an operation to repair the leg.