"Kes" - Young Kestrel with a Broken Wing
At this time of the year we receive lots of enquiries regarding what appears to be orphaned or abandoned young birds.
In most instances these fledglings are usually not abandoned and "rescuing" them can do more harm than good. Their parents are usually close by and will continue to feed the youngster encouraging them to stay in cover. Often one parent will continue to look after the fledgling while the other makes a nest for a second or even a third brood. Human interference under these circumstances, according to the RSPCA, can lessen a young animal's chance of survival.
Occasionally, however, there are exceptional cases. This young adult Kestrel was brought into us because it clearly was unable to fly and was attracting too much attention from the local cat population! In these circumstances it is very important to establish whether any injuries sustained will subsequently prevent it from being returned into the wild with a good chance of survival. Sadly, broken wings are usually a prerequisite for euthanasia.
In this case however it was apparent from the radiographs that only the ulna was fractured and that the degree of displacement was minimal. The intact radius acts as an internal splint holding the fragments in position until healing has occurred. Bone healing under these exceptional circumstances can occur within 2 weeks.
The rapid metabolism of birds allows callous formation and healing to occur in a very short time. Unfortunately, human metabolism is considerably slower and despite efforts to improve the healing environment such as enriching oxygen concentration Wayne Rooney's chances of competing in the World Cup are similar to Scotland's!
Providing a healthy environment for wildlife to recover clearly also plays a vital part in their recovery and to this end we at Fairfield are indebted to the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary for their very useful assistance. With any luck our Kestrel will be taking to the air once more in hot pursuit of any unsuspecting rodents! Anyone who would like to help out with the sanctuary in any way are invited to contact them on 07909 555310.
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS