American swallow-tailed kite admitted after fall from tree

An American swallow-tailed kite was among the 93 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a red rat snake, a common moorhen, a green heron, two killdeer and a Southern flying squirrel.

Hospital staff prepares to offer oral electrolytes to a rehabilitating American swallow-tailed kite. The young kite was found on the ground unable to fly.

The young swallow-tailed kite was found walking down a sidewalk in Bonita Springs. The kite’s rescuer saw the humor in the situation because the bird was headed toward the entrance to the Country Pet Ranch.

The kite arrived at the hospital late in the evening. We don’t know if bad weather caused the kite to fall but, no matter the reason, the bird was too young to be out of the nest. Although alert and responsive, the kite was thin and weak. Hospital staff provided electrolytes and placed the bird in an animal intensive care unit to rest for the night.

The following morning staff administered subcutaneous fluids, oral electrolytes and Chinese herbs to help with the kite’s overall weakness. When offered, the kite eagerly ate a skinned mouse. Each treatment throughout the day showed slight improvements meanwhile the kite spent the majority of the day sleeping.

Hospital volunteer Tim Thompson investigated the location where the kite was found in case we determined the kite could be re-nested. The nest was located and adult swallow-tailed kites were seen flying overhead which showed re-nesting was a possibility. Ultimately the kite was not strong enough to be re-nested and continues to rehabilitate in the bird room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

Recent Releases — 46 Animals Returned Home

  • 3 Florida softshell turtles
  • 9 eastern cottontails
  • 4 gopher tortoises
  • 1 anhinga
  • 5 Northern mockingbirds
  • 1 purple martin
  • 1 burrowing owl
  • 4 Cooper’s hawks
  • 2 brown thrashers
  • 1 blue jay
  • 1 broad-winged hawk
  • 1 red-shouldered hawk
  • 1 snowy egret
  • 4 Cooper’s hawks
  • 2 northern cardinals
  • 2 grey squirrels
  • 8 mottled ducks

Two of the gopher tortoise releases this past week were especially rewarding. One tortoise had been in rehab for two years and the other tortoise had been here for 2 ½ years. Both had suffered spinal fractures caused by being hit by cars. It took that long for the tortoises to regain nerve function and strength. It was amazing to see them returned to the wild.

Opportunities to Help

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, donations, and memberships are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see conservancy.org.

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