help with burned male kestrel

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stan hill
stan hill's picture
help with burned male kestrel

Found & rescued male kestrel 48 hours ago, that must have been in a quick, very hot flash (was on road very close to a chimney that burns either vent for landfill or donated hazardous waste....unable to fly, full of energy and is currently at a bird rehab facility.......all major feathers of tail and wings still have intact rachis (stem) and very little to no vain left.   The facility says that it is a long road ahead and will take at least a year for him to fully molt.

does anyone have any information that may help.   

thanks,  stan in colorado

matthewdanihel's picture

Hi Stan -

Such a shame!! At least to us, your theory that this bird's feathers were suddenly burned after he flew too close to the vent sounds as good an explanation as any looking at these images. This is both an extraordinarily unlucky bird, and an extraordinarily lucky one that it didn't suffer any further injuries and that you found it so quickly after the incident.

As much as we wish we knew a magic fix, we agree with the rehabilitator that this bird has a long road ahead. Partly damaged flight feathers can be repaired using a process known as imping, but even if all 52 remiges and rectrices could be imped, to our knowledge there is nothing that can be done for the damaged body feathers. Without the body feathers in good condition, this kestrel's body temperature regulation and waterproofing abilities are probably impacted negatively, which would likely prove fatal in the wild in a Colorado winter. As a result, this bird will need to remain in human care until it loses and replaces most, if not all, of the damaged feathers, a time- and energy-consuming process that could last well into next year (or even later, depending on how this individual adapts to living in human care).

Thank you for reaching out, and for helping this kestrel! We'll keep our fingers crossed for a successful (if slow) recovery. If you have any other questions please let us know and we'll be happy to help.

AKP Staff