Osprey Recovers from Broken Wing

provided by CROW

Ospreys are a common sight among Sanibel and Captiva. They can often be spotted floating in the air along the causeway, perched atop their stick nests on platforms or diving into the shallow waters along the beach for fish. The large brown and white birds are different from other predatory birds because they feed almost exclusively on fish. They even have a reversible fourth toe and spines located on their feet that are used to help grasp their prey as they fly over the water.

Due to the height of their nests, juvenile osprey are sometimes injured in falls while learning to fly. Although the actual cause of the injury is unknown, a juvenile female osprey (#20-3041) was admitted to CROW on June 25 with a broken wing. She was found on the ground and unable to fly in Bokeelia, Florida on Pine Island.

During the intake exam, veterinarians took radiographs of the injured wing and found fractures of both her radius and ulna. The anatomy of a bird’s wing is actually quite similar to a human arm and a bird’s radius and ulna are comparable to the ones in your forearm. After a few days of food and fluids to ensure the young osprey was strong enough, it underwent surgery to place metal pins in the bones and an external fixation to keep the broken bones in place while they healed.

For three and half weeks, veterinary staff checked the pins sites and replaced bandages as needed to keep the sites clear of any infection. They also performed regular physical therapy by placing the bird under anesthesia and extending the wing to ensure she maintained the correct range of motion needed for flight.

Once the pins were removed, the osprey was transitioned to an outdoor enclosure. Under the care of rehabilitation staff, she continues to re-learn how to fly and build back muscle which was lost by not being used during her time in the hospital.

“This juvenile osprey has overcome an incredible wing fracture and is regaining its flight abilities,” says Rehabilitation Manager Breanna Frankel. “At this point, she is working up her pectoral muscles in preparation for longer flights. She will be moved into our largest flight enclosure next week to continue reconditioning as we assess her for release.”

THIS WEEK AT CROW (7/29-8/4):
There were 108 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including five mottled ducklings, seven mourning doves, two anhingas, eight loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings, six northern raccoons, five blue jays, two red-shouldered hawks, two black skimmers, three brown pelicans and a grey kingbird. Recent Releases include a gopher tortoise, an adult loggerhead sea turtle, an eastern screech owl, three eastern cottontail rabbits, two mourning doves and a red-bellied woodpecker. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year!

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to www.crowclinic.org. If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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