Jun 30, 2005

Starling





Starling

Feed insect eater diet - Supplement diet with mealworms, water-soaked currents or raisins, bits of non-citrus fruits, and berries such as pyracantha. Also sun flower seeds, peanuts (without the shell and unsalted). Also occasional bits of chopped rat or mouse.

European starling Sturnus vulgaris


Identification Tips:

  • Length: 6 inches
  • Pointed bill-yellow for most of year, dark in fall
  • Black plumage with green and purple iridescence
  • White spots scattered about head and body-largest in fall
  • Dark wings and tail
  • Pointed wings
  • Short tail
  • Juvenile gray-brown with faint streaking below
  • Very common-frequently seen in large flocks

Similar species:

The European Starling is somewhat similar to blackbirds, cowbirds and grackles but has a shorter tail, chunkier body, white spots on the head and body (most evident in fall), and a yellow bill (not evident in the fall).

Jun 19, 2005

Eastern Screech-Owl



Eastern Screech-Owl
Otus asio

Description:
10" (25 cm). A small, mottled owl with prominent ear tufts; yellow to gree eyes. Both rufous and gray color phases occur, as well as brownish intermediates.

Habitat:
Open deciduous woods, woodlots, suburban areas, lakeshores, old orchards.

Nesting:
3-8 white eggs placed without a nest lining in a cavity in a tree or in a nest box.

Range:
Resident from Canada├»¿½s southern prairie provinces east to southern Maine, and south to Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

Voice:
A tremulous, descending wail; soft purrs and trills.

Discussion:
These common owls are fearless in defense of their nests and will often strike unsuspecting humans on the head as they pass nearby at night. When discovered during the day, they often freeze in an upright position, depending on their cryptic coloration to escape detection. The two color phases, which vary in their relative numbers according to geography, are not based on age, sex, or season.

Jun 8, 2005

Rainbow Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation North Texas

2005 so far at the Rainbow Wildlife Recue:
Mockingbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Mockingbird Rescue and Rehabilitation
Mockingbird Orphan
Released May 2nd
5 Mockingbirds in the outside enclosure
Released May 2nd
Mockingbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Mockingbird Rescue and Rehabilitation
Mockingbird Orphan
Released May 21st
Mockingbird Juvenile
Released May 10th
Mockingbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Blue Jay Rescue and Rehabilitation
Mockingbird Orphan Injured Blue Jay

Common Myths and Facts about Birds:

Myth: All Birds eat Worms
Fact: Although some birds do eat worms, best example the American Robin, most birds cannot handle the parasites associated with them.

Myth: Baby birds that have been touched by humans will be abandoned by their parents
Fact: As far as songbirds are concerned, they have a very poor sense of smell and will return to young as soon as we humans leave them be.

Myth: Give baby birds water so they don't get dehydrated
Fact: Never give a baby bird water alone as they cannot close their airway to allow it to pass into their crops. They drown easily and their air sacks are very susceptible to bacterial infections.

Moisten bread for a temporary solution, pieces of fruit or mix a baby bird mash into a paste with water and place it in the crop with a 1cc syringe, without the needle. They will gape for vibration or peeping sounds. Insert the syringe in past the windpipe and inject it slowly into the crop. If any backs up into the throat, clear it with a Q-Tip. The windpipe is the hole directly behind their tongue.

Myth: Birds imprinted on humans should never be released
Fact: A bird that has imprinted on people is at a definite disadvantage for the first few weeks of freedom. Any that outlast these weeks have as good a chance as any other. You still have to supplement the diet of a freed bird at regular intervals through the day, they will learn to forage and will imprint on it's own kind in time.

Myth: My cat brought us a bird, but I rescued it and it is fine
Fact: Many times a bird that has suffered a cat or other animal attack appears fine at first but dies within 24 hours of the attack. This is usually due to a bacterial infection caused by the animal's saliva. Birds may be in great condition a day after an attack, only to die an hour later.

Jun 2, 2005

Opossums

Opossums



Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) inhabit the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, Central America, and Pacific coastal North America. The Virginia Opossum is the only marsupial found in the North America. In South America and Australia there are about 80 species of Opossums. Opossums lived during the era of dinosaurs - fossil remains have been found from 70 million years ago.
 Opossums - Pictures
Picture courtesy of
Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den © 1997-2003
Kim A. Cabrera

Opossums - Taxonomy

  • Class: mammalia
  • Order: didelphimorphia
  • Suborder: marsupials
  • Family: didelphinae (Opossum)
  • Genus: didelphis
  • Species: didelphis virginiana.

Opossums - Reproduction

The breeding season for Opossums begins in December and may continue through October with most of the infants born between February and June. Like all marsupials, Opossum females have a well-developed pouch. They produce an average of 7 young, once or twice a year (litters of 17 kids have been reported). At birth, the infants are hairless, embryonic-looking, and weigh about 0.1 grams because the period of gestation is 12-13 days and because they are born at a very early stage in their development.

Young Opossums have to make a long and difficult journey from the birth canal into the pouch and latch onto a teat. The mother helps by licking the hair leading into the pouch. There are only 13 teats in the pouch and not all may be functional, so the excess infants will not survive. The young open the eyes at around 60-70 days and are weaned at about 100 days of age. Then they are often carried as they cling onto the mother's back. After separation from the mother, littermates may share common dens for some time. Very few young Opossums survive to become adults.