A Life Too Short. A Robin's Story.

chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)June 14, 2007

A Robin had come to live with us on Saturday.

(A low murmur is heard from the audience.....)

Oh Lord no! Not another story!

Yes, sorry to say another visitor has come to our home. VERY SORRY! Please let me explain. A lady brought a Robin into the animal hospital *just* as we were closing. The Robin was cold, eyes closed and had a head tremor. She found the Robin in the road FIVE HOURS before she brought her in for help! What was she thinking (or not thinking?!?!?) Why wait so long?

The Robin has a severe concussion and blood was streaming from both nostrils. Her right eye chamber is full of blood and the area around that eye was swollen. She was breathing / gasping through her mouth because the nostrils are blocked with blood. She had a skull fracture because I could see a slight dent in the back of her head. I don't think there are other fractures. She had **more** than enough to deal with as it was.

I gave her some medication for shock, brain swelling/concussion, antibiotics, pain control and some antibiotic ointment for her eyes. I gently wrapped her in a small towel fresh from the clothes dryer so it would warm her on our way home.

We set up our home made oxygen chamber for her and placed her on a warm towel inside. The brain needs oxygen and the added oxygen in her enclosed atmosphere would help her brain get the oxygen it needs and help decrease the brain swelling due to her head trauma.

After three hours or so, I took her out of the oxygen chamber and had another look at her. We think she may have been a young Robin. This year's hatch perhaps. We fear she is not only blind in her right eye but the other one too! She seemed unable to see her water bowl or dish of mealworms and chopped fruits.

OK. We can deal with that. We made up some warm baby bird food cereal and added a large amount of jarred human baby food (turkey with broth). We had been feeding her directly into her crop with a tube and syringe just as though we were hand raising a chick. She got her food, medications and we hoped she could gain strength while the rest of her recovered.

We once force fed a fledgling Starling (Grace) who has collided with a window and was very bad off for months.

Mike thought she had an elegant look and thought Claudia might be a name worthy of her beauty.

Claudia went back in her oxygen chamber and was there all Saturday night. Sunday morning the oxygen supply was running low so we scrambled to get more for her to improve her chances for recovery as much as we could.

She appeared more alert Sunday afternoon and even took a few steps. After she is handled she displayed her head tremor briefly. We planned to take her to the avian specialist and find out what he thinks about her eyes and general condition on Monday. To have lost the sight in one eye is bad enough! Just ask the Cardinal. But if she would be totally blind?????

Outwardly the Cardinal appeared 113% normal but he was found to be unreleasable because his retina is damaged beyond repair. We would not have know had we not had a complete eye exam for him. Although Claudia still had neurological issues she needed the same consideration. Maybe her blindness in the one eye would be temporary and resolve once she fully recovered from her concussion?

Then there is the matter of bird intelligence and communication skills which never cease to amaze me! Someone gave us a parrot in March of this year. She has a huge vocabulary. She has watched us care for Claudia.

When we were setting up the oxygen chamber she asked: "What are you doing?" ......and we explained it to her.

She saw Claudia for the first time: "Who's the pretty birdy?"

We had the syringe with baby food to tube feed Claudia:"What's that for?"

Sunday morning Olive watched as we gave Claudia her food and treated her eyes and then Mike just held Claudia. He pulled the bottom of his shirt over Claudia to cover her body and he gently stroked her beak and wiped the dried blood from her nostrils with a damp cotton swab. "What are you doing Pretty Boy?" LOL! Pretty Boy explained that Claudia had her nose blocked and needed to have it cleaned.

"Awwww. Pretty birdy hurt! Birdy hurt! Awwww?" Then Olive made sounds like giving a kiss!

Olive is about 20 ft. away from Claudia but she could see her every move and our every move. She seemed genuinely concerned about the hurt birdy! I know. I know. It sounds crazy but Olive was worried.

So were we.

Monday, Claudia seemed stronger. "Pretty Boy" fed her and gave her the medications as Olive watched. I had just made an appointment for her with the avian specialist when Mike said Claudia was having a seizure. It lasted 5 seconds at the most and she stopped breathing.

We did insert a tube into her trachea to breathe for her and then Mike started to try some chest compressions for her but she had died. Her body was 100% stiff within 30 seconds of the end of her seizure! For birds and small animals it usually takes a few minutes but this was seconds!

Her head trauma was too severe and we were unable to better control the swelling. Awwww. Poor Claudia. She was so young and we knew her for a very short time but she was already a family member and she was loved.

We tried all we could do to give Claudia a chance to survive her injuries. We needed more time for her concussion to resolve and heal. The ultimate outcome is in the hands of a Higher Power. It was not to be for our Robin.

We know people can do very well if they are sight impaired. Dogs, cats, horses, fish can cope to a certain extent and some manage to do well in a controlled setting. Our Cardinal is blind in one eye. That is why he remains OUR Cardinal. He does well in the aviary but he is turning his head more often than any other bird. He's checking his blind spot for danger I suppose. We have told him that no one will hurt or eat him here but he still needs to check.

How would a totally blind bird survive? Even in captivity it must be very difficult for them! There's Screech Owl at the Nature Center near by who has decreased eyesight due to cataracts but is not "legally blind." Claudia's trauma was very severe and I doubt that the delay in getting aid would have altered the final out come. ~SIGH~

We had Claudia a short time but again we learned from her and because of her. The care we give will be better for our next birdy guest because of her.

Dear little Claudia. We'll miss you.

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sheepco(MN z4)

I'm so sorry C3D and MIke, but...

"We had Claudia a short time but again we learned from her and because of her. The care we give will be better for our next birdy guest because of her"...

Says it all...Go in peace Claudia, having known the love and care of you two, and what you have given them in return.

Thank you both for trying so hard. "Hugs" (I need a kleenex now)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 9:10PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Give Olive an extra piece of banana or cracker for me, please. Sandy

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:33AM
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aw..amazing experience, chicka and mike.

olive is out of this world in a whole other aspect!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 2:55AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Olive is a unique personality. She could have her own website, just like our crazy Daisy! Olive normally chatters away but she knew that the home had become a hospital zone and Claudia needed her rest. Olive only spoke when she asked about the Robin. Otherwise she was watching. :-(

She likes grapes the most and is munching on those right now.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:03AM
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Geez, just when I thought the stories couldn't get sadder! *sniffle* Nurse Olive is awesome! After she gets her snack request from Sandy, please give her kisses from California!

Thanks to wonderful folks like you and Pretty Boy, Claudia went surrounded by love.

She can see better than all of us now.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 10:54AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

No murmuring here, just some quiet clapping for all you do for our feathered (and non-feathered friends). And for Olive too!

I so hoped the rescue center where I took the waxwing had someone like you on board, I figured it's chances were ten times better if they did. But I think not, they waited at least a day before they planned to take it to a vet and in the meantime it died. I so wanted to ask them if they were going to try the oxygen treatment to reduce the brain swelling but they are volunteers and I appreciate that they give up their time and do the best they can. You are a rare breed indeed - I think we need a Nappy camp award!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 3:45PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

I phoned the lady who brought Claudia to me and told her that she had died. The lady said she now checks EVERY bird she sees on the roadside ... (there are so many this time of year)... and she said she found another young Robin that was fluttering in the middle of the road. She stopped and picked up the bird but it died within 15 minutes of her rescue. :-( At least she tried and she did try with dear Claudia.

I didn't see you waxwing story, Jean. Sorry that your waxwing died too. The rescue people are fantastic without a doubt! Sometimes those who are rescued need more aggressive immediate medical attention (especially any head trauma patient) and even then it may not be the outcome we all hope for. I'm sure you did your best for the waxwing! You cared enough to get him some help. :-) It was not to be for your birdy either.

We are not a rare breed. Strange ??? YES! Rare ??? No! We just do what needs to be done in a given situation or get someone who knows what else may need to be done. We happen to have more things readily available than other people. I still have the Avian guy on speed-dial! LOL!

The best reward is a life saved and a release back to the wild if circumstances permit. If there is a disability then a happy life surrounded by love and safe from those who may prey upon them. Apple Jacks cereal helps too! :-)

Here is our Olive.

We cannot imagine Camp Nappy without her!

What a joy! :-)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:35PM
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what a sweet pic.

there is one thing i have learned, yet i still get down when i see or experience an unsuccessful rehab (meaning death in my dictionary). i may not be able to save them all, but saving "just" one makes all the difference. #2- i may not be able to save one, but at least they died in peace. if not in peace due to stress, than safe from further harm.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 2:05AM
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Oh, my goodness! Olive is sweetness personified! I wish I could kiss those cheeks and smother her with cuddles! Whew, I need to calm down, before I hurt something. LOL But she sure is delicious. :D


    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 2:28PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Awww, she does look like such a sweetie! It's amazing that it seems she understood the robin needed help. But then I am always amazed at how much animals seem to be more in "tune" than humans.

My husband found the waxwing sitting in the grass while he was cutting grass. Although it appeared okay, it wasn't flying and allowed me to walk right up and pick it up. I rushed it to a rehabber and they determined it was blind, apparently a head trama as it died two days later. I worry there's a family somewhere waiting for mom/dad to come home. Broke my heart.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:01PM
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    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:53PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

The very wise FTM wrote:i may not be able to save them all, but saving "just" one makes all the difference. #2- i may not be able to save one, but at least they died in peace. if not in peace due to stress, than safe from further harm.

Amen! :-)

When coming to Camp Nappy be prepared to hear:WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!...Helllllooooo?... at about 6:00 ~ish AM.

Awwww poor little Waxwing! Do you have berries or fruit that are on the ground, Jean? Sometimes they will start to ferment and the waxwings and other birds get intoxicated when they eat then. Sometimes there are fungus or bacteria that can produce various toxins resulting in a variety of neurological issues.

If either of those were the case, added oxygen would not have made a difference. If he had been struck by a car or window I suppose he could have wandered slowly to another location if blinded suddenly. Maybe he survived the initial injury but had a concussion and the brain started to get swollen or there was a birdy brain stroke and the vision was lost later?

We won't know what happened to him other than you cared enough to get him to people who care. (((cyber hug))).

C3D and Olive

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 8:22AM
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