NEW RESCUES @ the Juneau Raptor Center

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010


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Courtesy Of Jose Colon
Courtesy Of Jose Colon

Type of bird: Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica).

When discovered: Sunday, Aug. 1.

Where discovered: Fisherman's Bend, near Auke Bay.

What happened: A baby barn swallow and two siblings fell out of a nest. Volunteers picked up the three babies and immediately began feeding them. Baby barn swallows are hungry about every 15 minutes during the daylight hours.

Injuries: none.

Care: Within two days, despite efforts, two of the babies died. Clinger, however, was a survivor. At first, he would call out that he wanted food, but as soon as he saw his human caretaker, he closed his mouth. Initially, rescue volunteers had to force feed him. However, he quickly adapted, and from then on he was ready to open his mouth when approached. It seems he didn't like the force feeding!

Release: We had difficulty releasing Clinger. He wanted to stay with his human family and would fly after them as they tried to leave. This is why he was given the name Clinger. He was successfully released a few days later. His caretaker watched as he was greeted by several swallows and flew out into the sunshine to learn how to be a bird.

More about the Barn swallow: Barn swallows occur all over the northern hemisphere in the nesting season (but migrate to South America or Africa in winter), and they are among the most intensively studied songbirds. In this species, the elegant tail is long and forked, and males have longer tails than females.


Type of bird: Hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus).

When discovered: Thursday, July 29.

Where discovered: Mendenhall River.

What happened: JRC volunteers responded to a call about children who plucked a baby bird out of the local Mendenhall River. How it got there is a mystery.

Injuries: none.

Care: At first, force feeding was necessary, but it didn't take long for it to figure out that if it opened its mouth it would get some food. The bird was fed every couple of hours during the day. After a few days the bird was placed in a glass aquarium with mesh top and was eating some berries on its own; eventually small crickets were introduced from the local pet store. It took to those right away and was chasing them around and capturing them on its own. A couple of days later, it escaped from the aquarium when the lid was lifted for a cleaning. It made several passes around the room before capture. The bird's caretaker knew it was time for it to go.

Release: On Aug. 12, the bird was released back to the wild where it flew off and landed in a tall tree.

More about the Hermit thrush: The hermit thrush is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican Russet Nightingale-thrush. They forage on the forest floor, also in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects and berries.

Message phone for the Juneau Raptor Center, 586-8393; emergency pager, 790-5424; or for more information about the JRC, go online

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