Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today I got a call from my neighbor Allison.  Allison is a vet at New York City Veterinary Specialists, and she had an unusual patient that she needed help with.  It was a wild bird that had come in with a broken leg, and they though it might be a King Rail.  Not having seen a King Rail this year, I was naturally interested, and drove over right away (I'm not sure what the rules are on sighting a wild bird in a veterinary clinic, but either way I wanted to see it!)  When I got there I saw that it wasn't a rail, but in fact an American Woodcock.  The bird was clearly not well, letting its head drop onto the table when not propped up.  Stacy, also working at the clinic, was in charge of the bird, and was treating it with food and bandages.  I advised feeding it worms once it was in better shape...Woodcocks have special flexible bills that are designed to probe through loam and leaf litter for worms.  Stacy was doing a great job with the bird, and I heard later in the day that the bird was still alive and had perked up considerably.  
Handling a bird up close is a different experience from seeing it through binoculars in the field...I love getting a different perspective on a bird, and feeling a closer connection with the animal than I get from a scope view.   I'm sure the bird was not as thrilled to be close to us, and once again the bird's ill fortune was the birder's gain.    Thanks to Allison for giving me the opportunity to see this beautiful bird!


B said...

did the woodcock live? what was its condition?

Scott Whittle said...

I'm afraid the woodcock didn't make it. It seemed to being doing well for four days, eating lots of worms, but then it just died. Allison says she hates working with birds for this reason...they can seem fine, and then just expire.