I’ve seen both chicks in the area from time to time, usually at dawn or dusk. Although the picture above is murky (due to the distance and dusk), I could see it was a juvenile through my scope. It’s kind of a lonely picture, I think!
So, I have hard news to break. The MCC chick we named Beth had to be euthanized. Everyone thought she would be just fine, but she took a turn for the worse. When Dan and Preston found her on the 19th, she was laying on the ground in an alleyway. She continued to lay down until the zoo vet gave her fluids, which caused her to perk considerably. Mary transferred her out to raptor rehab and they kept working with her, though she seemed wobbly.
She visited a vet with training treating raptors several times. He determined, very early on, that she had an infection rather than an injury. We all felt confident she’d respond well to the antibiotics. She did not. She continued to go downhill and finally the vet recommended she be euthanized.
She most likely contracted Aspergillosis, which is a fungal disease birds get in their respiratory tracts, sometime between her first and second groundings. Since both her sisters, her parents and brother all seem hale and hearty and the disease spreads very easily, she must have gotten it when she was on her own. She either ingested spores or inhaled them – that we will never be able to determine. However, there is no effective treatment for Aspergillosis once a bird has contracted it.
While this is sad news for me, I find it easier to take when I keep several things in mind. First, wild animals run into all sorts of trouble. The average age of death is fairly low. This is just how nature keeps the books and there is good reason for things to work that way. Second, there was nothing we could have done to prevent this. By picking her up, getting her treatment and providing a great hospital environment, she at least didn’t suffer any more than she had to. In the wild, her end would have been far harder for her, so we all helped give her a much more merciful end.
Rest in Peace, Beth.