donderdag 31 maart 2011

Poor daddy Blue crane

One of our Blue crane pair got a little chick: amazing! The parents were even more excited than we! The dad has been defending his family passionately. Unfortunately he damaged his right wing in a fight when the chick was just several days old. We found him with his wing hanging in front of his legs and he was barely able to walk. From a distance it was clear that the wing was broken. It was interesting to see that the female took over all defences, previously mainly done by the male, and that the male got more involved with the feeding of the chick. That's what you call a great marriage. We decided to catch him, which was quite a challenge, as we did not want to disturb the freshly born family. I asked 2 guys to put some capture cloth in between the mother and the chick and the dad, to avoid them seeing the capture. This worked very well: they all stayed calm. I found a fracture of the shoulder, but the skin was still closed, which was good.

Unfortunately the closest fancy veterinary clinic (gasanesthesia is wonderful for bird anesthesia) is 80 km away, so I had to be creative. Immediately after capture I applied an intra-venously drip and gave the anesthetics drugs in the vene to keep the stress to the minimum. Then we brought the precious bird (and the national bird of South Africa!) to our 'operation theater'. Because we did not have an X-ray machine and we did not want to disturb the chick at this young age by taking away the male for too long, I decided to apply a bandage on the wing to make sure the bird could walk normally again. It took some time for him to wake up.

When he was able to walk again, his wife arrived with another male! In this short time, she was stolen by a competitor. Luckily she was happy to see her partner again and they have been a happy family since then. The chick has been growing fantastic: an ugly duck turning into a hot shot. Let's hope the fracture heals well.