Horned Grebe

PATIENT: Horned Grebe, #11-0246 LOCATION OF RESCUE:  Staunton, VA CIRCUMSTANCES OF ADMISSION:  Grounded near dumpster ADMISSION DATE: April 5, 2011 OUTCOME:  RELEASED April 6, 2011 On April 5, a Staunton Animal Control Officer responded to a call about an injured bird in downtown Staunton.   The officer found a Horned Grebe sitting beside a dumpster, rescued the bird, and brought it to the Wildlife Center. Grebes are diving birds and are excellent swimmers.  But because their feet are placed so far back on their body, they often have trouble getting around on land.  Center staff suspect that this Horned Grebe was blown around in thunderstorms that occurred the night before the bird's admission -- the grebe may have even tried to land in a large puddle, but likely didn't have enough room to take off again.  Horned Grebes winter on the coast of Virginia and migrate to Canada and Alaska in the summer for their breeding season.  Despite its grounding, the grebe sustained only minor injuries during its brief stop in Staunton.  There were a few superficial abrasions on the bird's feet, likely from being on the ground and struggling to take off.  Dr. Kelly Flaminio didn't find any fractures. The Horned Grebe was set up in the Wildlife Center's swimming tub, so that the waterproofing on its feathers could be evaluated.  With a thumbs-up from Dr. Kelly, the bird was scheduled for release the following day.  The grebe also enjoyed a meal of silverside fish as he spent the rest of the afternoon swimming around in the tub.  On April 6, Dr. Kelly and two veterinary externship students took the Horned Grebe to nearby Sherando Lake for a release.  Dr. Kelly reports, "As soon as we got close to the lake, the grebe started calling.  We placed the travel crate on the ground near the  lake and opened the door.  The grebe stood up and darted out of the crate -- and quickly waddled straight down into the water.  Once it was in the lake, the grebe spent several minutes preening before swimming away!" And what about the "horns"?   In summer, adult grebes sport yellow patches of feathers behind their eyes they they raise and lower.  Your donation will help support the Center’s work with patients like this grebe … and with 2,200 other wild animals in need.

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