When Can I Release My Rescued Corvid Fledgling?

Jackdaw nestling

At this time of the year we are contacted on a daily basis by members of the public, who have found, rescued and raised a corvid fledgling, all with good intentions of course. If we are not being contacted at the very beginning of a rescue journey, mostly for advice about the diet of corvids, then it is usually at the point where people feel that their foster bird might be ready for release soon. Unfortunately, our advice is often a disappointment if not a shock to many of these hobby rescuers, as in most cases the desired immediate release is not an option, or at least not an option which gives the foster bird a sufficient chance of survival. We do understand that circumstances will differ greatly, and that expert help is not always at hand. Therefore it is also important that the rescuer understands, that the likelihood of survival will differ greatly as well, as corvids are not belonging to those bird families, which can be hand raised by their own and hard released immediately after they have fledged. There are of course certain ways to ensure that the rescue bird gets the best second chance he or she deserves. However, to achieve the best possible outcome, decisions should ideally be made before a bird is being hand raised without appropriate company.

Carrion crow Amor and jackdaw Alyona
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Goldfinch Little Prince

Goldfinch Little Prince

Goldfinch Little Prince has been admitted to us as a fledgling in July 2017 after being attacked by a cat. He suffered a fracture of his wing and several puncture wounds, which have been treated accordingly. Little Prince recovered well and after being weaned he has been moved into our communal outdoor aviary, to give him sufficient room for exercise and adequate company allowing him to adapt well to the outdoors.

Goldfinch Little Prince

Little Prince made very good progress, but was not flying well enough to be released at this time. After an extended period of close observation the decision has been made that Little Prince would be better off to be released at a later date, which meant that he had to stay with us over the winter, to give him extra time for exercise and practice.

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House Martins Narziss And Goldmund

Narziss and Goldmund
Editor’s note: This blog post has been updated on 12/04/2018.

Admission – 30/07/2017

Narziss and Goldmund are two premature house martin fledglings, who have been found on the ground being unable to fly. Their nest allegedly came down for unknown reasons. According to the finder, Narziss has been spotted in the morning being on the ground and unable to fly, but has been left there for reasons unknown. Only as Goldmund has been spotted in the afternoon, also being found on the ground, both birds have been collected by the finder and brought to us. The admission assessment did not reveal any external injuries. However, both house martins demonstrated very obvious signs of dehydration, starvation and exhaustion.

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Crow And Rook Release 2017 – 15 Birds Released

Carrion crow Magnus

Yesterday, we closed our release aviary doors, bringing this years’ carrion crow and rook release saison to an end. At the end of September we opened the aviary doors for 17 crows and rooks to be soft released.  Out of these 17 release candidates, 15 birds, consisting of 11 carrion crows and four rooks, have been successfully soft released. Two birds decided to stay and will get another release chance offered next year. These two birds will join a group of birds in our communal aviary already being earmarked for release in autumn 2018.  Out of these 15 released birds, we released three birds, who stayed with us since 2015, three birds, who came to us in 2016, and nine birds, who have been admitted in 2017.

Soft release is a release technique, which involves continuing care for animals at the release site, particularly back-up feeding, and requires a greater commitment of time and effort than a hard release does. Soft release is particularly important for hand reared animals, especially of species which need to learn about their surroundings and need to learn survival skills such as foraging and hunting.  It is also appropriate for older immature or adult birds, who have been maintained in captivity for prolonged periods, or are being released at a site distant from their original location, as the original location might not be suitable.

Some of the released birds have joined straightaway our local mixed rook and jackdaw as well as non-territory holding carrion crow flock, which they already got to know very well during their stay with us. Both flocks are frequent visitors to our premises, a fortunate situation, which allows direct interaction and communication between wild birds, patients and residents. Over the past weeks some of the released birds decided to come back into the safety of the release aviary to roost, whilst others came back only to get some extra snacks. Many of them stayed in the near vicinity for longer periods of time. After becoming more and more confident, which is a learning process lasting anything between several days and many weeks, we could observe these birds, when they followed the local flocks flying further and further away from the release site, to participate in daytime activities and to eventually join the night roost.

Although the aviary doors are closed now, backup feeding and shelter will still be provided throughout autumn and winter. Most of the released birds are now staying away completely, or at least for longer periods of time. Some of them  are still coming back to visit their old comrades or to enjoy some food, which we will continue to provide.

When checking out the picture gallery, you will find a short summary underneath every picture telling you a little bit about the individual stories of these fascinating birds.

If you like the work we do, then please consider supporting Corvid Isle, as we are completely self founded. Please check out our support page and donate. Thank you very much in advance!

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