12.7.10

KEVIN AND
THE CRANE

This week's "aaah"
times two!

A baby kestrel which suffered a broken leg when
it fell out of a tree is recovering in hospital after
nurses fixed its injury with metal pins.

The bird, named Kevin, had his leg strapped
in a colourful purple cast following his
treatment at St Tiggywinkles wildlife
hospital in Buckinghamshire.

The bird will be released back into the wild in
the autumn after recovering from his injury,
which nurses fixed using a hypodermic
needle as a pin, some thin
pieces of wire and
dental cement.

The tiny old patient was found lying on
the ground in woodland near
St Alban's last week.

Les Stocker, founder of St Tiggywinkles, said:
"Doing the best job possible was very important.
Kestrels will hover over their prey and then drop,
using their legs to grab a mouse or something, so
having the use of their legs is absolutely vital."

"Fortunately this one is a marvellous little
bird and started hobbling around
almost immediately."


Meanwhile a baby African Crowned Crane is
walking tall after carers fitted it with bright
green slippers - to straighten its curled toes.
The tiny hand-reared chick was born with a
slight defect which meant toes on both feet
were not developing as they should.


Keepers at Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall,
fitted the slippers in a bid to 'straighten things
out' - and now the one inch high
rare bird is walking tall.


Curator David Woolcock said: "For the first few
days we put small bandages on the chicks toes
as they were slightly curled, and this just
helped straightened things out.
The chick is doing very well."


The tiny crane is being hand-reared at the
centre amid fears it would not be looked after
by its mother. It is currently being regularly
exercised to strengthen its underdeveloped legs
and will be weaned in late August, when
it will be introduced to other cranes.


The chick is expected to grow to over four
feet in height in just a few months and
will have a high protein diet,
including mealworms.


Mr Woolcock added: "In the past, the female
parent of this chick has not done very well
when she has laid a clutch of eggs inside
rather than outside her hut."

"So when this happened again, and with
this species having been recently upgraded to
'vulnerable' status, we made a decision to
remove the eggs and incubate them ourselves.
We were delighted when one hatched. So the
keepers are now full time mums with two
hourly feeds and giving some much needed
tender loving care to this little one."


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