Carolina Wrens #18-0049 and 18-0050

Admission Date: 
January 23, 2018
Location of Rescue: 
Augusta County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
stuck in a glue trap
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On January 23, a business owner found two Carolina Wrens stuck in a glue trap that had been placed for rats; the wrens were unintended victims, which can often happen when using glue traps for pest control. The rescuer removed the wrens from the trap and immediately brought them to the Wildlife Center.

Upon admission, both birds were given a full examination, including radiographs to check for any broken bones. Wren #18-0049 was missing about half of its tail, and the veterinary team also found that the bird’s right metacarpal [wrist] was swollen and bruised. About half of the bird’s feathers on its right wing were also missing. Wren #18-0050 didn’t have any injuries but was missing all of its tail feathers.

Both birds had residual glue left on some of their feathers; the staff carefully removed the sticky glue with mineral oil. Oil is often used with glue trap victims to either remove them from the traps, or to remove any leftover sticky substance on the skin or feathers. For birds, it’s extremely important to carefully remove the oil; any substance left on the feathers can be detrimental to the affected birds. Even if a bird is able to fly well, oil will quickly break down the waterproofing on a bird’s feathers, which in turn affects thermoregulation. Baths would be needed for both of these affected wrens, though the staff decided to schedule the baths for the days following admission so that the wrens didn’t become overly stressed.

On January 25, wildlife rehabilitator Brie set up a bath procedure for wren #18-0050. The bathing process involves series of warm water baths: two water tubs are set up with different dilutions of Dawn dish detergent, and a third tub containing warm water acts as the final bath before a warm water rinse. The process can be quite stressful, but is necessary to remove the oil. The procedure went well for wren #18-0050 and the bird was set up in a warm incubator to dry.


Wren #18-0049 will have the bath procedure on January 29, as long as the swelling on its wing continues to improve. Both birds remain bright and alert, and are eating the insect diet offered to them.

At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release. Your donation will help support the Center’s life-saving work with these wrens … and with the many other patients admitted to the Center this year.  


March 8, 2018

For the past two weeks, the rehabilitation team continued to check the tail feathers of Carolina Wren #18-0050. The bird was quickly growing the missing feathers, though in early March, also damaged a couple of the new feathers. Since the wren was able to maneuver quite well, wildlife rehabilitator Brie decided it would be best to release the bird, and the wren could finish safely growing its remaining tail feathers in the wild. The bird was released on March 4.

February 23, 2018

Carolina Wren #18-0050 continues to do well in the Center’s aviary. The staff check the bird’s tail feathers every few days; as of February 22, the bird had eight new tail feathers growing in. When the wren has a complete set and can fly well, the bird will be released.

February 12, 2018

On Wednesday, February 7, the veterinary team reassessed Carolina Wren #18-0049’s injured right wing. Unfortunately, the staff determined that the wrist had suffered permanent damage and elected to humanely euthanize the wren.

Wren #18-0050 is doing well in the Center’s aviary; during the weekend, the wildlife rehabilitation team noted that the wren is beginning to grow new tail feathers.

February 5, 2018

In the days following wren #18-0049’s bath, the veterinary team noted that the bird had limited extension on its injured right wing. The veterinary staff scheduled daily physical therapy for the wren, in hopes of increasing the bird’s range of motion in that joint. It’s been difficult to visualize any issues on the bird’s radiographs, since the little wren is so tiny and delicate, but additional radiographs will be taken on February 7 to look for changes in that wrist joint.

In the meantime, the bird is eating well and gained one gram since admission.

Wren #18-0050 continues to live outdoors in the Center’s aviary; there is no sign yet of the tail feathers re-growing.

January 30, 2018

Wrens #18-0049 and #18-0050 have continued to recover during the past few days; both wrens are eating their insect diet and maintaining weight. The rehab team weighs the birds daily to ensure each bird is receiving and eating enough food.

Wren #18-0050 was moved out to the Center’s aviary on January 29; the bird will need to remain at the Center until it grows in a new set of tail feathers and can fly well enough for release.

Wren #18-0049 stayed inside during the weekend; the bird’s swollen wing has gradually improved. On Monday, January 29, wildlife rehabilitator Brie decided that it was time to bathe the wren to remove the residual oil on the bird’s feathers. Within five minutes, Brie had moved the wren through the three warm bathtubs [with dilutions of Dawn dish soap] and a quick rinse. The bird recovered in a warm incubator; if all goes well, it should be ready to start acclimating to the outside later this week.