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Can a one legged bird survive??

Posted by dzyg (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 6, 09 at 9:55

I posted this on the Bluebird froum but it has been really slow over there so I thought I would see if anyone here could add some insight....

Not sure what happened but one of the fledglings (fledged on July 1st) isn't using one of her legs. It is tucked up tight against her body and all you can see is part of the foot. She seems to fly just fine and can land and take off ok too however not as gracefully as the other two fledglings. She seems to be using the foot as a brace when she is sitting on a branch by holding the top of it against the branch. She is still flying around with the other two and coming when they come to the mealworm feeder and eating. I even saw her fly from a tree to the ground and hover like she thought she saw a bug but then flew off. Not sure if there wasn't a bug or if she didn't want to land on the ground but it "seems" as if she is still hunting. It is hard for her to hold on to the glass dish in the feeder and eat when the other two are in there too but she does ok and gets plenty of worms. I am just wondering if there is any hope for her or if she will die with just the use of one leg and if by feeding her the mealworms I am just prolonging the inevitable. I first noticed this Tuesday morning so I am hoping whatever happened will heal and she will regain the use of her leg but not sure if that will happen or not. Mom and Dad Blue are on their second nesting and the new babies are 9 days old today. The other two fledglings are very curious about the nestbox that has the new babies in it, they sit on top of it all the time (it is a flat topped Gilwood box) and sometimes peek in it too. All three were sitting on it yesterday with the mylar strands of the spooker hitting them in the head, they didn't care at all. I am praying the leg on the one heals up and she will be ok but I am not sure if that will happen or not. It is sad watching her.

Donna


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

Depends on the species. Broken leg for a ground-dwelling bird is worse than it is for one that flies a lot. As long as they can get food and water and avoid predators, they'll do OK.

We have a 1-legged mockingbird that's been around all summer. Except for having to use its wings for balance when hopping after bugs, it's doing well.

The quail that badly broke a leg managed to live long enough for the leg to become usable - fluttering as an aid to running. He still walks with a slight limp, but he got a mate and babies :)

Another bird - towhee - has a damaged wing. Aside from having thighs of titanium from all the running it did, it has lived long enough to recover some use of the wing. Now it can flutter into the bushes and glide down from the trees - it will never be a strong flyer.


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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

Oops, sorry about that I guess it was just implied...it is a bluebird fledgling that isn't using her leg. I am hoping whatever happened can heal, not sure though as I cannot see the leg at all as it is tucked up against her body right now, all I can see is the foot and the toes never seem to move at all but they aren't curled up tight just loose.

Donna


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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

If it's flying, and can perch, it should do OK.

They catch bugs with their beaks, not their feet.


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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

** They catch bugs with their beaks, not their feet.**

I sure hope this was meant to be informative and not sarcastic. I know they catch bugs with their beaks but they totally need their feet for dropping down and landing properly to catch that bug. A bluebird is a drop feeder as they perch and watch for bugs then drop down and catch them (yes, with their beaks). This one will probably miss a few as it will have to concentrate on how it is landing too and not just on grabbing that bug. Slower bugs should be fine but anything fast may get away from it. Hopefully too by the time they migrate it will have all the issues worked out and be ok wherever it goes for the Winter.

Donna


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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

There was a headless chicken, named Mike, that lived for 18 months. The family would feed him with an eye dropper. No, really. Look it up.


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RE: Can a one legged bird survive??

I just did, Mike actually has a website!

Mike's Story

Aargh! I actually stopped eating chicken for a while as a kid after I saw a chicken with its head chopped off. No chicken tonight.

Claire


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