Young vulture admitted after nest tree cut down

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

This nestling black vulture was among the 88 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

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The black vulture was admitted after the area where its nest was located was cleared in preparation for a house being built on the property. Workers cleared a large amount of land and took a break; when they returned, the young vulture was sitting in the open on the cleared lot. One of the workers contained the fuzzy nestling and brought it to the Conservancy for care.

The nestling vulture was stressed when admitted and was placed in an animal intensive care unit to rest. A short time later a physical exam was performed. The vulture was a bit thin, was wobbly when attempting to walk and was not as reactive as would be expected from a healthy baby bird. A radiograph showed the vulture had a broken toe on its right foot.

Watch certified Arborist Ian Orlikoff, owner of Signature Tree Care, explain what he looks for before cutting down a tree.

Subcutaneous fluids were administered and the vulture was started on pain medications. A limited diet of rodents and fish was offered with the vulture showing a preference for the rodents. Currently, the vulture continues to recover in the bird room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

The black vulture was only one of several raptors babies admitted last week. A common barn owl was admitted after falling from its nest that was located under a bridge in Moore Haven, an osprey was admitted from Marco Island after the nest he and his sibling were in fell 80 feet to the ground. The sibling did not survive the fall. Four eastern screech owlets were also admitted this past week. Two were injured after their nest trees were felled during landscaping activities and two were recent fledglings caught by cats.

Please be aware that it is nesting season for many species of birds and mammals. Check yards and trees before conducting any trimming or clearing to be sure there are no active nests. If you find an active nest, call the staff at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. Staff can determine how long the nest will be active and help develop a plan that will keep the babies safe from injury.

Help us prevent suffering and injuries to baby wild animals — monitor pets when they are allowed outdoors. Not only does it keep your pets safe from predator attacks, car strikes and exposure to disease, it keeps harmless wildlife safe as well.

A northern cardinal, three eastern screech owls, four eastern cottontails, a gopher tortoise, a Florida box turtle, two common grackles, a Florida softshell turtle, three northern mockingbirds, three opossums, a blue jay, a northern waterthrush and a Chuck-Will’s widow were released this past week.

Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

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