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American Crow Flies Free for Fourth of July

Cape Wildlife Center rehabs gravely wounded bird

  • After careful care and rehabilitation at our Cape Wildlife Center, this crow was ready for release by the Fourth of July. The HSUS

  • The careful hand of Dr. Roberto Aguilar removed the pellet from the bird's crippled wing. The HSUS

When the American crow first arrived at the Cape Wildlife Center in late April, brought in by a Barnstable County Animal Control officer, things looked very grave.

The crow had been shot by an air rifle; the pellet went through his left shoulder, breaking a bone required for flight, puncturing a lung, and barely missing his heart.

"The pellet broke the coracoid bone," noted Cape Wildlife Center veterinarian Dr. Roberto Aguilar. "It is difficult to set a broken shoulder bone because of the challenge of keeping the wing immobilized and the bird relaxed during the healing process."

Critical care

Indeed, the crow took two months of medical care and rehabilitation to recover. Treatment included radiographs, pain medication, antibiotics, surgical extraction of the pellet, and setting the broken coracoid bone. Through his recovery, the bird was fed and cared for by Cape Wildlife Center staff and volunteers.

Two months later, the bird had healed and was ready to go home. In late June, the Cape Wildlife Center partnered with Massachusetts Audubon's Long Pasture facility to set the crow free during a children's educational program. The children listened soberly as they learned how the crow was injured, then cheered as the healed bird was released from his carrier. The crow circled low, then soared away.

Education and rehabilitation

Education is a large part of the Cape Wildlife Center's mission, according to Cape Wildlife Center Director Deborah Robbins Millman.

"Only through education can we reduce the number of human/animal conflicts that result in the death or injury of our native wildlife," she noted. "Our mission is to provide the educational resources and the medical care and rehabilitation required to make a positive impact on the health and sustainability of wildlife while safeguarding the public. We were delighted to be able to restore this American crow's freedom—just in time for the Fourth of July."

For more information about the Cape Wildlife Center and to support its mission, visit www.humanesociety.org/cape.

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