Chris Sanderson <>
Lethal nest materials
Tue, 26 Oct 2010 15:54:51 +1100
Would a broken leg inevitably lead to death? I wouldn't know, so I would
have released it too.
In the first instance the shock and pain and any infection is likely to
kill the bird. If that doesn't kill it then the limitations on foraging
while the fracture mends might do so. It seems likely to me that for any
one bird that survives such an experience unaided, many hundreds will
A weakened animal is also at the mercy of a secondary infection or
predation. While predation is a necessary part of life (otherwise I
wouldn't be able to enjoy the peregrines out my office window), it
doesn't follow that one should release an injured bird in the hope that
it will get eaten by a peregrine or a raven, rather than a cat.
In respect of one legged birds, birds that spend a lot of time either on
the water or in the air seem to manage better. Other times birds like
pigeons that spend a lot of time on the ground manage without a foot.
As a guide, if you are ever faced with circumstance where you have to
decide if you will release a bird or take it in to care, you can do
worse than to consider how you would manage with a broken leg getting
around in your life without any pain relief, splint or surgical/medical
support. If you think this is likely to make your life marginal, then
it's likely that it will make that bird's life marginal too.
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