Archive for August, 2014

Altricial vs. Precocial?? Some rehabbin language

In my previous post I mentioned that our September e-newsletter will have information about the licensing requirements for becoming a rehabber in Arizona. What I did not mention, is that wildlife rehabilitators learn what amounts to a new “language” of terms, used when talking about their profession. Two terms that are fairly common for bird (avian) rehabbers…altricial and precocial. These are two frequent terms in an avian rehabilitators vocabulary. The word altricial comes from the Latin word altrix: “nurse”. It describes birds that hatch in a helpless condition and that must be ‘nursed’ until they are able to leave the nest. The word precocial – like the more familiar word precocious – refers to birds that hatch fully developed and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching. In this case, size does matter when it comes to eggs. Some birds that have precocial young have eggs relatively larger in size than the eggs of similar sized birds that have altricial young. Precocial eggs (the larger eggs) contain more nutritive material and require longer to hatch, the young emerge more developed. For an example, the adult killdeer is about the size of a robin. Killdeer chicks are precocial and the killdeer eggs are larger than those of the altricial robin. Killdeer eggs require about 26 days to hatch, while robin eggs require about 13 days. The killdeer young emerge from the egg and are able to run, while the robin’s babies are helpless. The young robins stay in the nest another 10 to 14 days until they are able to leave the nest, then they still flutter around and are under the care of the parents until they learn to fly. There are also semi-altricial and semi-precocial birds, but more about those later!

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Upcoming New Handbooks!

We will be working on our Waterfowl Handbook and Volunteer Handbook in the next few months, with plenty of updates. Stay tuned. The work on our coming e-book, Off To A Flying Start, continues, and we are seeking a volunteer to help with the graphics. Things have calmed down a bit after a very busy Spring baby season, but we get plenty of calls, especially following a monsoon. Our Bird Tracks e-newsletter has picked up many new subscribers and the open rate is double the average non-profit e-newsletter! The September e-newsletter will contain a section on what it takes to become a rehabber, how and where to meet the appropriate licensing requirements in Arizona. Go to our website, www.eastvalleywildlife.org and click on the subscribe option for the e-newsletter. While you are on the website, click on the Facebook link to read articles by our Director, Nancy, and some great photographs of recent rescues. East Valley Wildlife also is on Linked In, and we have quite an interesting group of people who are linked to our site. For the past year, EVW has really hit the ground running in terms of social media! Stay tuned for more updates.

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