Weekly News: December 15th, 2011

Squeak-toy eyes the camera warily from his new outdoor digs. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker

Squeak-toy and Soldier-girl moved into spacious new outdoor quarters this week. Needless to say, these two are thrilled to be in a large enclosure where they can easily keep a “safe” distance from me and other potential intruders. When I go in to care for them Squeak-toy starts up with his signature squeaking and Soldier-girl makes several fly-bys before settling on a high perch to keep an eye on me (and the food). Soldier-girl has asserted dominance, which is no surprise given her larger size and superior flying prowess. Squeak-toy learned fast that if he minds his own business and lets her eat first, all is well.

We continue to work with Squeak-toy as before, but have not been able to begin training him yet. I learned from Dr. Barb that Soldier-girl arrived at OPVC on November 7 with a comminuted (fragmented) fracture of the tibia and fibula of the left leg. Because it was comminuted, the bone was splinted rather than pinned. Raptors who have incurred leg injuries should not be exercised on a creance line, which attaches to jesses on the legs, so exercise in a flight cage will have to provide enough pre-release reconditioning for Soldier-girl. Given her inclination to fly in circles at my approach, I think she will do fine.

Shredder has been flown on a creance two times since the pin was removed from his wing. While his flight and his inclination to fly have improved, his flights are shorter than we expected. His skill and stamina will need to improve before we can release him. We plan to fly Shredder every other day (weather permitting) until his endurance improves, and then every day, to build his flight muscles. We began physical therapy this week to increase range of motion in his left wing, which we hope will speed up his progress.  Until next week!

-Suzanne Shoemaker

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