Over the years we have been contacted repeatedly by rescuers and lay people, who were caring for corvids such as magpies, jackdaws and crows, and who observed that their foster birds showed difficulties with flying despite appearing otherwise fit and healthy. Some of these birds demonstrated abnormal flight feathers and showed an unusual or even abnormal behaviour not normally expected in wild birds. A closer assessment of the plumage showed quite quickly that these birds had been wing clipped.
Blindness occurs in many species including birds. Some birds are born blind while others develop blindness. But regardless of how an animal may become blind, blind animals require special care that is different than that of a sighted animal. Knowing how to care for a blind or visually impaired animal can help to prevent many frustrations, misunderstandings and injuries.
Before we look at some examples of animals seeking human help, it seems a good idea to address the often heard myth that we as humans must not anthropomorphise animal behaviour. Although this is still a widespread believe, even amongst otherwise renowned scientists, it is simply wrong, based on the ever increasing anecdotal and scientific evidence. I have chosen four short excerpts taken from Marc Bekoff’s book “The Emotional Lives of Animals – A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter”, who addresses this misconception in his usual precise, ethical and scientific manor. 1
‘Careful and detailed behavioral studies have shown time and again that we can indeed differentiate and understand animal behavior, and how it differs in various social contexts.’
What have cats, cars and wildlife in common? Cats are domesticated companion animals, cars are manmade machines, and both are able to kill living beings when not supervised or controlled. Cars kill cats and wildlife, and cats kill wildlife too. Neither of both scenarios is ‘natural’, both are artificial and manmade. So what is the impact, and what can be done to keep both, our beloved companion cats and wildlife, safe?