Archive for May, 2012


Another catchy heading from yours truly is Bumblefoot!  One might think it is a derogatory term for someone with two left feet on the dance floor.  The reality is much more serious.  First let me digress and explain why I am writing about bumblefoot.  My husband and I enjoyed a “minivacation” recently, and during a walk he noticed a pigeon limping badly.  My husband has the endearing belief that I am able to catch, foster, feed and rehab almost any critter that walks, crawls, swims, or flies.  Not sure how he got this misinformation, but he quickly decided that a) we should try to capture the pigeon and b) I should so something about the ailment.  As the pigeon quickly flew off into the sunset I realized that what we had seen was probably a bad case of bumblefoot.  Bumblefoot is an infection and usually rises from an injury to a bird’s foot.  The skin can heal around the infected area, but often a small hardened “corn” develops.  This “corn” can continue to grow.  Bumblefoot is more comon in captive birds, but wild birds also develop foot injuries.  Waterfowl, particularly ducks are also prone to bumblefoot.  The disease can spread rapidly, since it is a bacterial infection.  A severe case of bumblefoot can lead to degeneraton of the foot and eventual death.  Bumblefoot is treatable, but only by someone trained who has the correct antibiotics and only at certain stages of the disease.  I have attached a photo which is only one example of what bumblefoot can look like.  It is a picture of bumblefoot on the foot of a raptor.  Bumblefoot also occurs on birds of prey, since their feet can be injured when they dive for their food.


Webbed? Or Not

Nancy reported another fun story, a case of mistaken identity with a happy ending.  A recent caller said she had returned home from vacation to find 7 ducklings in her yard.  Nancy thought this was mysterious because there was no pool or water in the yard which would entice the ducks, and no way for the ducks to enter the fenced area.  After more discussion, the caller suddenly yelped…”Oh, they’re not ducklings, they are baby quail and the parents are in the yard!”   Nancy has had her hands full with duckling calls and is currently raising a large batch of babies.  So it was good news that these babies were not ducks and could survive on their own.  (Baby quail actually come out of the egg with the ability to feed themselves!)  Remember, one way to identify a baby bird….check its feet.  Ducklings and baby quail might look similar, but Ducklings have webbed feet!


Happy Duckling Story

Just received an email from our Director Nancy with a happy Memorial Day story.  Nancy received a call from a woman who had 7 ducklings in her pool with Mama mallard nowhere to be seen!   Luckily the caller had gone to our website and read about how to rescue the babies from her pool. Then the kindly couple gathered up the tiny critters in an open box and let them peep.  Mama mallard returned in haste when she heard the babies calling her.    The rescuers then walked the box of ducklings for a quarter mile to a safe area of the canal, with Mama duck waddling ten feet behind (closely following the box with her babies in it).  Arriving at the canal, the babies were tipped out of the box and followed Mama into the water.  A brilliant rescue! It was a lucky day for our rehabbers that the couple used good sense in following our website instructions.  Nancy reports that we are currently close to being overwhelmed with duckling babies.  The babies have to be hand raised until they are big enough to survive on their own and then must be brought to a safe area to be released.  So the more ducklings that can be reunited with Mama, the happier we are! Thanks to the rescuers and to all our duckling volunteers.  If you would like to volunteer to raise some ducklings and have the space, please go to our website Volunteer page or call EVW. Happy Memorial Day to All.


Keeping People and Pets Together

If you have read some of my other blogs you will know that we also follow and share articles of interest about not only wildlife, but also domestic animals. This is one of the articles that came to my inbox that I thought was worth sharing with readers.  Amie’s Place Foundation is a not for profit with the goal of keeping people and their pets together during times of crisis, for example the frail elderly who are having difficulty taking care of their beloved pet.  You can read more about the Foundation’s goals on their website….  The reason I am writing about this particular Foundation is because they are again making grant funds available for innovative programs that will keep people and their pets together during times of crisis.  If you know of a group that meets the goals of the Amies Place Foundation and if that group might qualify for a grant, let them know about this wonderful program.



They say that a headline has to “grab” you, and that is what I was hoping with the “ants attack bird” header.  Actually, it is not a sci fi event, but rather a real possibility during baby bird season.  Let me explain.  Someone at East Valley Wildlife reads all of the comments posted to our website.  We really like to know that people are visiting the site and reading the information!  One recent comment was from a visitor who told us how much she liked the website and about how much good information there is on the site.  We are flattered! The same person brought to our attention the very real danger that exists during baby bird season. A baby bird left on the ground cannot defend itself from predators.  One of those predators is……an ANT…or more precisely, many ants!  Yes, to a defenceless baby bird, ants are dangerous predators. It takes less than an hour for an army of these voracious insects to overcome a baby bird.  You can read our website about what to do if you find a baby bird on the ground.  Sometimes no intervention is necessary, if the baby is mature enough and the parents are nearby.  In other cases, the baby bird is in imminent danger, from cats, other birds, dehydration and…yes….ants. Thanks to our website visitor for reminding us that some predators can be very tiny but very deadly.


A Case of Mistaken Identity

Baby bird season is in full swing and our volunteers are taking hundreds of

i am the baby grackle.

calls.  Yesterday’s high winds, combined with nesting birds makes for a busy time!  In high winds, nests get torn apart and babies get thrown out of nests. We encourage people  to read our website and, whenever possible, to try to “renest” any baby birds when they are certain that the bird ‘parents’ are still in the area. When this is not possible, one of our volunteers can raise the rescued ‘baby’. The next issue is to try to identify what type of bird it is so that the baby can be brought to the volunteer who handles that species. Now comes the tricky part….often the identification process turns into a case of mistaken identity.  Look at that photos and you might see a slight difference between the two baby birds.  One is a baby quail, the other is a baby grackle.  One caller insisted that the two were identical, according to photos on our website. One technique to assist in rescued bird identification: the rescuer takes a photo of the bird with a camera telephone and then emails the photo to the volunteer.  If the photo is clear enough, the volunteer can usually identify what type of bird has been found.

i am the baby quail.